CNN — The death of prominent journalist Grant Wahl during the World Cup in Qatar has sparked outpourings of shock and grief across the sports world, with NBA superstar LeBron James and tennis legend Billie Jean King leading the tributes to the American.

Grant Wahl, a prominent American journalist, died in Qatar after collapsing while covering the World Cup, causing shock and grief throughout the sports world.

Wahl’s death, according to King, was “heartbreaking.”

“A gifted journalist, Grant was an advocate for the LGBTQ community and a leading voice for women’s soccer,” King wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “He used his platform to help those whose stories needed to be told.” “Prayers for him and his family.”

In Philadelphia on Friday, basketball star LeBron James said he was “very fond of Grant.” When James was in high school, Wahl wrote a cover story for Sports Illustrated.

Grant Wahl on October 10, 2014. The United States Men’s National Team and Ecuador’s Men’s National Team drew 1-1 in an international friendly at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire, used with permission of Getty Images)
Grant Wahl, an American journalist, died after collapsing at the Qatar World Cup.
“Even when I moved up in the ranks and became a professional, and he went to a different sport,” James said at a postgame press conference. “Whenever his name comes up, I remember being a teenager and having Grant in our building… It’s a heartbreaking loss.”



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Tyler Adams, captain of the United States men’s national soccer team, which was eliminated from the World Cup in the last 16 by the Netherlands, expressed his “deepest sympathy” to Wahl’s wife, Celine Gounder, and those who knew him.

“As players, we have enormous respect for journalists’ work, and Grant’s was a giant voice in soccer that has tragically fallen silent,” Adams wrote on Twitter.

The World Cup organizers in Qatar announced on Saturday that Wahl “fell ill” in the press area and received “immediate medical treatment on site.”

According to a spokesperson for the Supreme Court Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the body in charge of organizing the tournament, he was then transferred to Hamad General Hospital.

In November of this year, Grant Wahl attended an awards ceremony in Doha, Qatar.
In November of this year, Grant Wahl attended an awards ceremony in Doha, Qatar.
Wahl was treated in the stadium “for about 20-25 minutes” before being taken to the hospital, World Soccer Magazine columnist Keir Radnedge told CNN on Saturday.

“This happened near the end of extra time in the game.” Suddenly, colleagues to my left began yelling for medical help. Someone had obviously collapsed. People were able to move the chairs because they are freestanding, allowing them to “create a little bit of space around him,” Radnedge explained.

He went on to say that the medical team arrived “quite quickly and were able to provide treatment as best they could.”

‘I was shocked and devastated.’
“Only a few days ago, FIFA and AIPS (the International Sports Press Association) recognized Grant for his contribution to reporting on eight consecutive FIFA World Cups,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement.

The co-editors in chief of Sports Illustrated, where Wahl spent the majority of his career, issued a joint statement saying they were “shocked and devastated” by the news of his death.

“We were proud to call him a colleague and friend for two decades – no writer in (Sports Illustrated’s) history has been more passionate about the sport he loved and the stories he wanted to tell,” the statement said.

Wahl began working for the publication in November 1996, according to the article. He volunteered to cover the sport as a junior reporter before it reached the heights of global popularity it now enjoys, eventually becoming “one of the world’s most respected soccer authorities,” according to the statement.

Wahl also collaborated with other media outlets, including Fox Sports, according to the statement. He started his podcast and newsletter after leaving Sports Illustrated in 2020.

Grant Wahl, a US journalist, claims he was detained in Qatar for wearing a rainbow shirt.
According to a US journalist, he was initially denied entry to a stadium due to his rainbow t-shirt.
Other current and former US soccer players, including Ali Krieger and Tony Meola, as well as sporting bodies such as Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League, expressed their condolences.

Wittyngham, Wahl’s podcast co-host, told CNN on Saturday that the news of his death was difficult to accept.

“For Americans, Grant Wahl is the first person they read when it comes to soccer.” For a while, he was the only person… Wittyngham described Grant as “the first person who truly paid genuine attention to this sport in a meaningful way.”

Several journalists shared their experiences reporting alongside Wahl and meeting him at multiple World Cups over the years.

“Before he became the best at covering soccer, he did hoops and was so nice to me,” famed broadcaster Dick Vitale wrote.

The US Ambassador to Qatar, Timmy T. Davis, tweeted that Wahl was “a well known and greatly respected reporter who focused on the beautiful game.”

“The entire US Soccer family is heartbroken to learn of Grant Wahl’s passing,” US Soccer said in a statement posted to its official Twitter account.

“Grant dedicated his life to soccer, and we are heartbroken that he and his brilliant writing will no longer be with us.

US Soccer expressed its condolences to Wahl’s wife, Celine Gounder, and his loved ones, praising his passion and “belief in the power of the game to advance human rights.”

Gounder also tweeted the US Soccer statement.

“I am overwhelmed by the generosity of my husband Grant Wahl’s soccer family and the many friends who have reached out to me tonight.” “I’m completely stunned,” Gounder, a former CNN contributor who served on the Biden-Harris transition Covid-19 advisory board, wrote.

Ned Price, a spokesperson for the US State Department, said the department was in “close communication” with Wahl’s family. The World Cup organizers also stated that they were in contact with the US embassy “to ensure that the process of repatriating the body is in accordance with the wishes of the family.”

Wahl was working at Qatar 2022 while wearing a rainbow-colored t-shirt.
Wahl was working at Qatar 2022 while wearing a rainbow-colored t-shirt.
Doug Zimmerman/Getty Images/ISI Photos
According to his website, Wahl had covered soccer for more than two decades, including 11 World Cups — six men’s and five women’s — and authored several books on the sport.

He had recently celebrated his birthday with “a great group of media friends at the World Cup,” according to a post on his official Twitter account, which added, “Very thankful for everyone.”

I’m sick.
He had complained of feeling ill in an episode of the podcast Futbol with Grant Wahl, which was published just days before his death on December 6.

“It had gotten pretty bad in terms of chest tightness, tightness, and pressure.” “I’m feeling pretty hairy, bad,” Wahl said in the episode to co-host Chris Wittyngham. He also stated that he sought treatment at the World Cup media center’s medical clinic, believing he had bronchitis.

He was given cough syrup and ibuprofen and said he felt better soon after.

Wahl also stated that after the US-Netherlands game on December 3, he felt a “involuntary capitulation by my body and mind.”

“It’s not my first rodeo. “On the men’s side, I’ve done eight of these,” he said at the time. “And so, I’ve gotten sick to some extent at every tournament, and it’s just about trying to like get your work done.”

He went on to describe the incident in a December 5 newsletter, writing that his body had “broken down” due to a lack of sleep, high stress, and a heavy workload. He’d had a cold for ten days before it “turned into something more severe,” he wrote, adding that he felt better after getting antibiotics and catching up on sleep.

Wahl made headlines in November when he reported being detained and temporarily denied entry to a World Cup game because he was wearing a rainbow t-shirt in support of LGBTQ rights.

He claimed security personnel told him to change his shirt because “it’s not allowed” and took his phone. Wahl stated that he was released 25 minutes after being detained and that he received apologies from a FIFA representative and a senior member of the stadium security team.