By Kanishka Singh and Dan Whitcomb
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Grant Wahl, a U.S. sportswriter covering the soccer World Cup, died in Qatar on Friday, his family and U.S. Soccer said.
U.S. Soccer said it was “heartbroken to learn” about Wahl’s death. His wife responded to the U.S. Soccer statement on Twitter, saying she was “in complete shock”.
Wahl, a former Sports Illustrated journalist who later moved to Substack, had been tweeting about the Netherlands-Argentina match earlier on Friday.
He said last month he was briefly detained when he tried to enter a World Cup stadium in Qatar while wearing a rainbow shirt in support of the LGBTQ community in a country where same-sex relations are illegal.
Wahl said in late November that World Cup security denied him entry to the United States’ opener against Wales at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan and asked him to take his shirt off.
NPR reported he died while covering the Argentina-Netherlands match. Other details surrounding his death were not immediately clear.
He wrote on Monday that he had visited a hospital while in Qatar.
“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,” he said on Substack this week.
The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“He was a kind and caring person whose passion for soccer and dedication to journalism were immeasurable,” Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber said in reaction to news of Wahl’s death.