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Grant Wahl, America’s premier soccer journalist, dies while covering the World Cup

American journalist Grant Wahl died on Friday evening while covering the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. U.S. Soccer and NPR have confirmed Wahl’s passing. Wahl was tweeting about the quarterfinals match between Argentina and Netherlands less than five hours before the news of his passing went viral on social media. Wahl was 48 years old.

Wahl was perhaps the biggest voice on soccer for American audiences. He worked at Sports Illustrated from 1996-2020 where he wrote a number of iconic cover stories, including the publication’s ‘Chosen One’ feature on LeBron James when he was a junior at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School. Wahl was fired by the company in 2020 and was covering the World Cup on his Substack while also doing work for CBS. Wahl had been writing about the brutal conditions this World Cup was being played under.

Here’s the statement from U.S. Soccer on Wahl’s passing.

News of Wahl’s death first started to spread after his brother recorded an Instagram video that has since been deleted. Wahl’s brother wrote in an Instagram comment that he collapsed at the stadium and died.

Here’s the photo of Wahl in a rainbow shirt his brother mentioned in the video. Here’s a link to Wahl’s story about being detained by World Cup security after wearing the shirt into the stadium.

Wahl reportedly spoke about having bronchitis on a podcast recorded a day before his death:

Reaction to Wahl’s death has been pouring in on Twitter. This first tweet is from his wife, Celine Gounder.

LeBron James gave this statement on Wahl’s passing:

We’ll update this story as it develops.

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