Update 9:54 PM CT: CBS News is reporting Wahl suffered a heart attack.
Additional tweets and statements were added throughout the night.
Update 12/10/22 12:36 PM CT: Grant’s brother Eric has provided an update. Additional quotes were added to the story from Grant’s podcast on December 6th.
Update: We are grateful to the US government for their help, esp the US ambassador to Qatar for his compassion. Our understanding is Grant's electronics have been secured. We are humbled by the conscientious care of the US embassy in Qatar w.r.t. Grant.— Eric Wahl (@ziplamak) December 10, 2022
Late tonight, Friday, December 9th, news came out of Qatar that long-time soccer writer and Kansas City native, Grant Wahl has died in Qatar. It happened during the Netherlands versus Argentina game.
I’m stunned. Everyone is simply shocked. It seemingly has come out of nowhere. My mind immediately went to the country he was in the coverage he had been doing of their migrant workers living conditions. And of the rainbow shirt he was hassled for trying to wear into the stadium.
Just now: Security guard refusing to let me into the stadium for USA-Wales. “You have to change your shirt. It’s not allowed.” pic.twitter.com/TvSGThMYq8— Subscribe to GrantWahl.com (@GrantWahl) November 21, 2022
However, Grant himself had written that he had been sick for the last 10 days.
“My body finally broke down on me,” said Wahl. “Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and lots of work can do that to you,” Wahl wrote. “What had been a cold over the last 10 days turned into something more severe on the night of the USA-Netherlands game, and I could feel my upper chest take on a new level of pressure and discomfort. I didn’t have Covid (I test regularly here), but I went into the medical clinic at the main media center today, and they said I probably have bronchitis. They gave me a course of antibiotics and some heavy-duty cough syrup, and I’m already feeling a bit better just a few hours later. But still: No bueno.”
[Update 12/10/22: additional quotes from Grant’s Dec 6th podcast as transcribed by CNN.]
“It had gotten pretty bad in terms of like the tightness in my chest, tightness, pressure. Feeling pretty hairy, bad,” Wahl told co-host Chris Wittyngham in the episode. He added that he sought help at the medical clinic at the World Cup media center, believing he had bronchitis.
He was given cough syrup and ibuprofen, and felt better shortly afterward, he said.
Wahl also said he experienced an “involuntary capitulation by my body and mind” after the US-Netherlands game on December 3.
“This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve done eight of these on the men’s side,” he said at the time. “And so like, I’ve gotten sick to some extent at every tournament, and it’s just about trying to find a way to like get your work done.”
His wife, Doctor Celine Gounder, released a brief statement along with a statement from US Soccer.
His brother, who is gay and one of the reasons Wahl stated he wanted to wear his rainbow shirt, doesn’t believe that Wahl was just sick.
Absolutely bone chilling stuff— JACK SETTLEMAN (@jacksettleman) December 10, 2022
Soccer journalist Grant Wahl who was kicked out of a stadium in QATAR for this shirt has reportedly collapsed and passed away during the Argentina game today
His brother says on Instagram that Grant was fully healthy & believes there’s foul play pic.twitter.com/t47C2XfuVl
I can’t find the words. It’s incredibly sad. Instead, I’ll just share the words of others.
We are shocked, saddened and heartbroken over the tragic passing of Grant Wahl. He was a kind and caring person whose passion for soccer and dedication to journalism were immeasurable. pic.twitter.com/ohJoZlGfk0— Don Garber (@thesoccerdon) December 10, 2022
Heartbroken. As a young kid in KC obsessed with soccer and college basketball who wanted to be a journalist when he grew up, I absorbed everything Grant Wahl wrote. Read it over & over again.— Chad from KC. (@TheChad_KC) December 10, 2022
When we had him on our podcast a few weeks ago it was surreal & amazing.
seriously stunning news from Qatar. Grant Wahl put some truly beautiful pen to paper on the beautiful game. One of the best soccer writers we have ever produced in America. Thinking of his friends and family in this unfathomable moment— Carter Augustine (@CarterAugust1ne) December 10, 2022
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) December 10, 2022
Life is fragile and there is always a reminder in there to live each moment for what it is. Don’t worry about the past nor the future, take care of the now. It’s the only guarantee in life.— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) December 10, 2022
St Louis is still better than Kansas my friend.
Grant Wahl was kind. Needlessly kind. I love him and I’ll miss him.— Chris Wittyngham (@ChrisWittyngham) December 10, 2022
He treated me with a level of respect I didn’t deserve. He gave me an opportunity when I needed one. And most importantly he was kind. Needlessly kind
I’ll miss him. I’m devastated beyond words
Shaken to my core right now— Susannah Collins (@susannahcollins) December 10, 2022
I am at a loss for words…. Grant Wahl was more than just *THE* soccer guy….. he was extremely kind and welcoming to everyone in the soccer world and most importantly- he was brave and when people didn’t have a voice he raised his for them.— Rachel Bonnetta (@rachelbonnetta) December 10, 2022
Oh my goodness, I just logged onto twitter. Grant was kind to his peer journalists and fearless in calling truth to power. I genuinely cannot believe this. Poor Celine.— Nipun Chopra, PhD (@NipunChopra7) December 10, 2022
This is absurd. I cannot believe this
A very sad day for journalism. My deepest condolences to Grant’s friends and family.— Felipe Cárdenas (@FelipeCar) December 10, 2022
Met up with @GrantWahl in April for a coffee. He was so excited about covering the World Cup and all the stories he was working on.— Har Journalist (@HarJournalist) December 10, 2022
He was kind, helpful, and always generous with his time. My thoughts are with Grant’s friends and family.
This is absolutely devastating. https://t.co/6cUN2yxN0h
Can't go anywhere in US soccer circles without bumping into someone Grant Wahl was good to -- anything from a quick hello & some kind words to some meaningful career advice. Just a truly good guy.— Matthew Doyle (@MattDoyle76) December 10, 2022
I only met Grant once and spoke with him for only a few minutes. In a crowded press box in which he was by far the most prominent journalist, he was encouraging, generous with his time, and very kind. I’ll miss him, his work, & his commitment to telling the truth with excellence.— Ben Wright (@benwright) December 10, 2022
Everything you hear about Grant Wahl's kindness is true. He welcomed me into the US soccer media community and used his incredible clout to help launch ASN. When I faced a personal tragedy, Grant was the first person to reach out, offer support, be a friend. I am heartbroken.— John Godfrey (@ThisIsASN) December 10, 2022
Stunned. Saddened. No words— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) December 10, 2022
Grant Wahl inspired me endlessly. First as a role model - a fellow Kansas kid who went to my high school and covered my favorite sport. Then as a co-worker at SI, where his work and advice was always top-notch. And later as a good friend. Tonight has been traumatic and surreal. https://t.co/Mcxy4oGyyZ— Alexander Abnos (@AnAbnos) December 10, 2022
Sunrise in Qatar. A very hard night for the US soccer community and the journalism world. Please keep Grant’s family in your thoughts. pic.twitter.com/nxriSmHHT9— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) December 10, 2022
A lot of folks in my age class, aspiring journalists who really, really wanted to cover soccer because of their love for the game looked up to Grant. For the path he paved, coverage he brought....man....this hurts.— Daniel Sperry (@sperrydaniel94) December 10, 2022
Peace and strength to his family, and Celine.
I’m so saddened by the news of @GrantWahl .. I’m sending all my love and strength to his family and friends. He was such an inspiration to our soccer community and anyone who was lucky enough to meet him.❤️— Ali Krieger (@alikrieger) December 10, 2022
I know this about Grant Wahl: He was a person of passion, conviction, integrity and courage. He was the kind of journalist and writer everyone admired. He was so kind to me when I was a nobody and we happened to share a city.— Kevin Van Valkenburg (@KVanValkenburg) December 10, 2022
Honor him by being fearless in the pursuit of truth.
Grant Wahl was probably the most important American soccer journalist ever. He was one of the pioneers that made soccer feel like it mattered on a national stage.— Chris Ivey (@ChrisIvey865) December 10, 2022
His death must be investigated swiftly and independently. Really not sure how we can let this WC continue otherwise.
This news of Grant Wahl passing feels surreal!! There needs to be a thorough investigation into what happened. Absolutely stunning.— Mike Hill (@ItsMikeHill) December 10, 2022
Sporting Kansas City mourns the loss of Grant Wahl. The Kansas native was so much more than just a journalist to many. His passion for storytelling and the beautiful game made him a beloved member of the soccer community.— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) December 10, 2022
Our thought are with his family and friends.
Statement from MLS on the Passing of Grant Wahl: pic.twitter.com/YTROTSKS9x— Major League Soccer (@MLS) December 10, 2022
— Alexis Guerreros (@NotAlexis) December 10, 2022
Tell your friends you love them and thank them again for helping you in the past. Remind them they’re important to you.
Life is short. Tell your loved ones you love them.— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) December 10, 2022
Tell the people you care about how much they mean to you. Tell your friends how you feel. Be kind to people, in real life and on the internet, to strangers and acquaintances. Good people are gone too young. You never know.
KC Current statement on the passing of Grant Wahl. pic.twitter.com/DgI6mv2BnG— KC Current (@thekccurrent) December 10, 2022
Angie and I are devastated. We have together known @GrantWahl for 30+ yrs. @thekccurrent wouldn’t exist without having had Grant’s advice. He was our first call. He is a legend. His words were always insightful, honest, powerful but his actions made all of our lives better. https://t.co/vyOXtZwVrd— Chris Long (@cdlong97) December 10, 2022
I asked Grant what he thought the biggest story would end up being from this tournament...— Chad from KC. (@TheChad_KC) December 10, 2022
"I hope it's the soccer."
At the time, I thought it was both the simplest answer and the right answer for a million reasons.
Now... It's gonna stick with me forever. https://t.co/iwihkx8PXE
Devastated to hear the news of Grant Wahl’s passing. Just returned from Qatar a few hours ago, and am catching up to this. A fine journalist and human being, who worked tirelessly to support the sport of soccer as well as the work of other journalists who covered the game.— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) December 10, 2022
Heartbroken by the news of Grant Wahl. He cared so deeply about women’s soccer and our soccer community. I’m in shock.— Sydney Leroux (@sydneyleroux) December 10, 2022
If you’ve written about, broadcast, or even watched soccer in this country, chances are you’ve been influenced by, read something, or watched @GrantWahl RIP, Grant— Guillermo Rivera (@FireConf) December 10, 2022
Sitting here floored by the horrible news that Grant Wahl died today in Qatar. I have read his work for literally decades; just two months ago I had the pleasure of meeting him, and he was an absolute mensch. This is a tragic and devastating loss. https://t.co/92SjBhSvQV— Brendan Hunt (@brendanhunting) December 10, 2022
Numb. Shocked. Devastated to hear the news about Grant Wahl. The world lost a kind human being. Met Grant as a young reporter and later had the pleasure of working with him last WC. He loved people, life and our sport. May your soul rest in peace Grant.— Tony Meola (@TMeola1) December 10, 2022
I want to say that Grant had a rare ability to make you believe in goodness — your own and other peoples’ — which made his reporting on the human tragedy in Qatar doubly valuable. Because he wasn’t a suspicious or cynical person by nature.— Brian Phillips (@brianphillips) December 10, 2022
Added on 12/10/22:
It’ll be hard to come by any media person in the soccer community that wasn’t directly impacted by Grant Wahl’s kindness & support. He treated everyone, regardless of where they were in their career, like they mattered. I’m so grateful we crossed paths & am just devastated. RIP.— Aly Trost Martin (@AlyTrostMartin) December 10, 2022
I think the best soccer writers in America are generous with their time because they know there are so many great unreported soccer stories that 100 Grant Wahls couldn’t cover them.— Mike McGrew (@Zavagtastic) December 10, 2022
I feel like it’s our obligation as fans to support journalism to where we have 101 Grant Wahls.
Arriving now at Al Thumama, journalist from Spain came up to me to ask me about Grant. They’re all stunned. I told them about his legacy. It’s so difficult to understand. It’s very surreal— Nico Cantor (@Nicocantor1) December 10, 2022
I knew Grant in the professional circles.I can only imagine what his closest are feeling
I hope Grant knew what an impact he’s had on so many of us, on journalism, on the US Soccer landscape and beyond. I am eternally grateful to him for that. Hug your people. Take the pictures. Save the important dates. Always show up for each other. pic.twitter.com/28TBc1SV8x— Christine Cupo (@CCupo) December 10, 2022
Like so many of you I am struggling to come to terms with Grant's death. He was a friend and an advocate, always kind, always thoughtful, always amplifying my voice and my writing, never asking for anything in return. He was unfailingly kind and I will miss him tremendously.— Pablo Iglesias Maurer (@MLSist) December 10, 2022
Sports illustrated fired him for challenging their pay cuts during the pandemic.— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) December 10, 2022
He ran to unseat FIFA’s president.
He challenged human rights abuses in Qatar.
RIP Grant Wahl, who’s career was as much about great reporting as it was about speaking truth to abusive power.
The Kansas City Comets mourn the loss of Grant Wahl. pic.twitter.com/khMWxiPPRX— Kansas City Comets (@KCComets) December 10, 2022
Tonight we pay tribute to Grant Wahl at his assigned seat in Al Bayt Stadium. He should have been here. Our thoughts remain with his wife Céline, his family, and his friends at this most difficult time ❤️ pic.twitter.com/8j5pTQOrHe— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) December 10, 2022
Grant’s family remains in my thoughts and from those of us at The Blue Testament.