Famed Soccer Journalist Grant Wahl Has Died After He Collapsed During A Match In Qatar

Famed soccer journalist Grant Wahl has died after he collapsed during a match in Qatar.

The brother of influential US soccer journalist Grant Wahl, who died while covering the World Cup in Qatar on Friday, says he no longer suspects foul play in his sibling’s death.

Grant Wahl, 49, had a “death rattle cough” from a stubborn case of bronchitis shortly before he collapsed while covering Argentina’s quarter-final win against the Netherlands, his brother Eric Wahl said.

U.S. soccer journalist Grant Wahl dies while covering World Cup in Qatar

Eric previously speculated foul play may have been involved since the soccer writer was an outspoken critic of the Qatari government and received death threats after wearing a rainbow shirt to a match.

But Tuesday, the brother wrote on Twitter, “The family will release a statement as to cause of death soon. I no longer suspect foul play. It was not [pulmonary embolism].”

Eric backtracked on an earlier tweet from Monday in which he said, “It seems possible Grant experienced a pulmonary embolism & was in non-shockable state.”

He also claimed there was no portable defibrillator in the stadium but then Monday issued a correction on Twitter, writing that “per a US gov official, FIFA is saying AEDs were available at the stadium,” referring to the devices.

It’s unclear why a defibrillator was not used on Wahl.

Grant Wahl’s body was brought to New York City on Monday for an independent autopsy. His widow, Dr. Céline Gounder, an infectious-disease physician who works at Bellevue Hospital, brought his body to a city medical examiner Monday.

Gounder on Tuesday shared a photo with Wahl to Twitter, writing, “I miss you, @GrantWahl.”

On Monday, Eric shared an update on the situation, writing: “We are traveling with Grant’s body to the medical examination & autopsy.”

He added: “Thank you to American Airlines for their incredible help. Thank you to the NY Port Authority & the US government. Humbled.”

Grant Wahl made headlines at the World Cup when he was initially not allowed to enter the stadium because he was wearing a shirt with a soccer ball surrounded by a rainbow in support of the LGBTQ+ community before a US and Wales game.

Wahl’s wife, Cèline Gounder, said she’s in “complete shock.”

She tweeted as news of Gahl’s death spread, “I am so thankful for the support of my husband @GrantWahl’s soccer family & of so many friends who’ve reached out tonight. I’m in complete shock.”

On Saturday, FIFA President Gianni Infantino expressed his “sincerest condolences to the family and friends” of Wahl.

“It is with disbelief and immense sadness that I have been made aware of the passing of renowned sports journalist Grant Wahl, whilst reporting on a quarter-final match during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar,” Infantino said in a statement. “Only some days ago, Grant was recognized by FIFA and AIPS for his contribution to reporting on eight consecutive FIFA World Cups, and his career also included attendance at several FIFA Women’s World Cups, as well as a host of other international sporting events. His love for football was immense and his reporting will be missed by all who follow the global game.”

On the latest episode of his podcast, Fútbol with Grant Wahl, the journalist said he had bronchitis.

In a joint statement, its co-editors in chief Ryan Hunt and Stephen Cannella said: “We’re shocked and devastated at the news of Grant’s passing. We were proud to call him a colleague and friend for two decades—no writer in the history of SI has been more passionate about the sport he loved and the stories he wanted to tell. Our hearts go out to Celine and his family, as well as everyone who loved his work. He will always be part of the SI family.”

A representative from the U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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