A famous American sports journalist, who made headlines recently in Qatar by wearing a rainbow T-shirt in support of LGBT+ people, died covering the World Cup quarter-final between Argentina and the Netherlands. Low on Friday, organizers confirmed on Saturday.
Grant Wahl, 48, “felt badly in the press box at the Lusail stadium”, said a spokesman for the Supreme Organizing Committee. “He immediately received emergency medical treatment, which continued when he was transferred by ambulance to Hamad General Hospital,” in Doha.
Fifa President Gianni Infantino sent the “sincere condolences” of world football’s governing body and the “football community” to his wife, family and friends in a separate statement on Saturday.
According to American radio NPR, he collapsed in the press box as the match was coming to an end. According to the American daily The Wall Street Journal, the journalist apparently succumbed to a heart attack.
He had told subscribers to his internet newsletter a few days ago that he had visited a clinic in the media centre: “They said I probably had bronchitis,” he added.
“Little sleep, a lot of stress”
“My body is finally giving up on me. Three weeks with little sleep, a lot of stress and work can have that effect on you (…). I could feel my upper chest taking on a new level of pressure and of discomfort”, he described.
“Grant had made football his life’s work and we were devastated that he and his brilliant pen were no longer with us,” the United States Soccer Federation wrote in a statement.
Before the United States-Wales match on November 21, Wahl was held back by security personnel at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium because he was wearing a rainbow T-shirt, he explained on Twitter. Homosexual relations are criminalized in the small Gulf emirate.