Longtime American journalist and soccer reporter Grant Wahl died on Friday while covering the World Cup in Qatar.
He was 48.
Wahl was covering the Argentina-Netherlands match at Lusail Stadium on Friday when he was seen seemingly unconscious in his seat in the press box. Medics attended to him for nearly 30 minutes before taking him out on a stretcher and to a local hospital. His cause of death is unknown.
Wahl was a beloved reporter throughout the United States who worked for both CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated before launching his own platform through Substack. Outside of his soccer coverage, Wahl was responsible for several iconic Sports Illustrated cover stories — including "The Chosen One" story on LeBron James when he was still in high school, a Kevin Durant feature when he was at Texas and more.
Wahl had made headlines for refusing to take off a rainbow shirt in Qatar, and frequently wrote about controversial issues surrounding the event.
Wahl’s wife, Céline Gounder, and U.S. Soccer confirmed the news.
— Céline Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA 🇺🇦 (@celinegounder) December 10, 2022
Plenty of those in the soccer world and journalists throughout the United States paid tribute to Wahl on social media on Friday night. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, whom Wahl helped introduce to the world with his "The Chosen One" Sports Illustrated article, also mourned the loss:
Grant was an important member of the soccer community for more than two decades, and he will be deeply missed. Our heartfelt condolences are with his wife Celine, his family and loved ones.
— Don Garber (@thesoccerdon) December 10, 2022
Statement from the NWSL on the passing of Grant Wahl pic.twitter.com/yB8SaxshGO
— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) December 10, 2022
LeBron James offered his remembrance of journalist Grant Wahl tonight in Philadelphia. Wahl, who died at the age of 48 while covering the World Cup in Qatar, wrote the first Sports Illustrated cover story on James - “The Chosen One” - when LeBron was still a teenager. pic.twitter.com/mZIMx1TJiB
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 10, 2022
There was not a nicer, more considerate person out there, truly.
The preeminent American soccer journalist who treated EVERYONE, junior employees, interns, whoever with so much respect.
I am just completely shocked
— B.W. Carlin (@BaileyCarlin) December 10, 2022
Grant Wahl was kind. Needlessly kind. I love him and I’ll miss him.
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
— Chris Wittyngham (@ChrisWittyngham) December 10, 2022
We are heartbroken that former Sports Illustrated senior writer Grant Wahl died while covering the World Cup in Qatar.
Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this tragic time. https://t.co/B9dhFPSPZq pic.twitter.com/2ydpmtguRF
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) 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.
St Louis is still better than Kansas my friend. 💔💔💔
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) December 10, 2022
Sad and shocked to hear of the passing of Grant Wahl. I could mention his avid support of the women's game, how grateful I was for his advice when I was working on my book, or his important coverage over the years, but mostly my thoughts are with his family and all who knew him.
— Caitlin Murray (@caitlinmurr) December 10, 2022
grant was an established pro who went out of his way to help me multiple times in my career when he had no reason to. he took delight in seeing this sport grow in this country and wanted to lift those of us around him up. a horrible, horrible day for american soccer.
— Nate Scott (@aNateScott) December 10, 2022
Grant Wahl is easily the best and most prominent football/soccer writer in America. He’s played as big of a part as anyone in growing the game. I’m speechless.
— Ishmael Johnson (@IshmaelRJohnson) December 10, 2022
— Brandi Chastain (@brandichastain) December 10, 2022
Learned of Grant Wahl’s passing while I was at the Sixers game. Completely shocked. My heart goes out to his wife, family, friends and the soccer community. Truly heartbreaking.
— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) December 10, 2022
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
In total shock right now. Grant was a terrific reporter and always so supportive as a colleague. https://t.co/wIcRPPjZFz
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) December 10, 2022
No words. Crushing for everyone who knew Grant, including so many people at SI. https://t.co/Qix0wUg2dT
— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) December 10, 2022
Grant Wahl was unbelievably kind to everyone, but I was especially touched by how warm and welcoming he was towards my mom when he realized she was a huge soccer fan. Heartbreaking news. https://t.co/v99QlQayoi
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) December 10, 2022
Can’t comprehend this news. Grant was one of the best sports journalists and an even better person. Covered college hoops for a long time at @SInow prior to going full-time soccer. May his memory be a blessing to all who knew and loved him. https://t.co/tfM2ODgcMu
— Andy Katz (@TheAndyKatz) December 10, 2022
Devastating. Grant was so kind — and such a sharp reporter. A giant of the industry. Thinking of Grant’s family. https://t.co/EQSazmJY8Q
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) December 10, 2022
This Grant Wahl news is so, so awful. He was one of the best soccer writers and before that, one of the best college basketball writers. Such a cool guy, total gentleman. RIP.
— Seth Wickersham (@SethWickersham) December 10, 2022
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
This is absolutely heartbreaking. Grant Wahl was an inspiration to soccer journalists everywhere and helped grow the sport in the U.S. with his storytelling and passionate coverage. He will truly be missed. https://t.co/cyZ2F4osMc
— Joe Lago (@joelago) December 10, 2022
My God. God. This is awful. Grant Wahl combined true goodness, passion for his job, love of his game, and love of life. My heart aches for his wife Celine and his family. This is a heartbreaking night. https://t.co/Rn9DsfgNoz
— Peter King (@peter_king) December 10, 2022
Every day I was soccer editor for Yahoo Sports — every day — I wanted to do stuff as great as Grant did. His SI/Planet Futbol writing, his pod, his TV work, right up to his outstanding Substack, it's all required reading/viewing. Make this make sense
— Joey Gulino (@JGulinoYahoo) December 10, 2022
I’m at a loss for words over the passing of our incredible CBS Sports colleague Grant Wahl. I’m so sad for his family.
— Chris Hassel (@Hassel_Chris) December 10, 2022
I am ABSOLUTELY HEARTBROKEN! RIP GRANT WAHL!
— @FreddyAdu (@FreddyAdu) December 10, 2022
To say that thousands of people were introduced to the sport of soccer through Grant is an understatement. It is without question that many of us owe our very comprehension of how soccer works in culture to his efforts to help us understand. https://t.co/XlUzGavwf2
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) December 10, 2022
Awful awful awful. Any journalist covering a sporting event should not come home in a casket. I can’t even begin to imagine. Thinking about Celine, Grant’s family and those who knew him far better than I did. Just an awful night for sports journalism in America. https://t.co/H6am4963ag
— Wayne Drehs (@W_Drehs) December 10, 2022
Wahl introduced LeBron James to much of America and the sports mainstream, among many other career achievements. A titan of the profession who made a profound impact. https://t.co/7IbCSudgMf
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) December 10, 2022
Grant was a wonderful person. At the top of his profession but never too busy to help a colleague or fight for what is right. He will be so dearly missed by so many. https://t.co/GoD8pSFuy4
— Jenny Vrentas (@JennyVrentas) December 10, 2022
Grant became the leading voice on soccer in the US, but he also introduced the world to @KingJames, writing the SI cover story on “The Chosen One” when LeBron was still in high school.https://t.co/pH83kSKLGh
— Joe Lemire (@LemireJoe) December 10, 2022
I first met Grant Wahl at the NCAA media session in Buffalo in 2000. He was imbedded in my life for the next week,writing a potential story for Sports Illustrated.He was so kind and engaging, he became like a family member on the journey,I’m crushed by his passing #RIP
— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) December 10, 2022
There are too many examples of Grant Wahl’s kindness as an SI colleague to recount here. As great a writer as he was, Grant was an even better person. Prayers with his wife and family, who he loved and was so proud of.
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) December 10, 2022
Rest In Peace Grant Wahl. His passing is a shock to the entire soccer community.
— Cobi Jones (@cobijones) December 10, 2022