Update Dec 14 8:50 a.m. Wahl’s body has returned to the United States, and his death has been attributed to an undetected ascending aortic aneurysm with hemopericardium according to his wife, who is a medical doctor. The memorial service for him is still being planned.
America’s preeminent soccer journalist Grant Wahl died on Saturday morning in Qatar while covering his eighth World Cup at the age of 48.
Wahl was from Kansas but a 1996 graduate of Princeton University, where the Tigers head soccer coach Bob Bradley first met the young reporter. Bradley went on to be the head coach of the US Men’s National Team, opening up doors for Wahl to become the defining journalist of the still-niche sport as it exploded across the country.
He worked at Sports Illustrated from 1996 until April of 2020, where he was let go after a public row with new management. From there he started a popular Substack that was required reading for Americans that love the sport that many times doesn’t receive the depth of coverage of football, basketball, baseball, or hockey domestically. He was also a frequent on-air contributor for outlets such as Fox Sports, CBS Sports, and Meadowlark Media.
Just hours before his passing, Wahl wrote a piece critical of the Qatari Supreme Committee about the deaths of migrant workers at the 2022 World Cup. His brother Eric took to Instagram to say in a since-deleted post that he didn’t believe his brother’s death was due to natural causes.
Grant Wahl’s brother, Eric Wahl, says his brother wore the rainbow shirt for him because he’s gay.— Leah McElrath (@leahmcelrath) December 10, 2022
Eric Wahl says Grant Wahl received death threats after wearing the shirt and alleges his brother was killed.
Source: https://t.co/39Q7AYPqzf pic.twitter.com/m72ptJoDuR
He is survived by his wife, Dr. Celine Gounder, a member of the COVID-19 Advisory Board under President Joe Biden.