Renowned American journalist Grant Wall dies after collapsing in Qatar During the coverage of the World Cup, shock and sadness flooded the entire sports world.
A witness told CNN that he “collapsed” while covering Friday’s match between Argentina and the Netherlands.
Qatar’s World Cup organizers said on Saturday that Wall “fell ill” in the press area and was “immediately treated at the scene”. He was then transferred to Hamad General Hospital, said a spokesman for the Supreme Court’s Birth and Heritage Commission, which is responsible for planning the tournament.
The circumstances surrounding his death are not clear.
“The entire US Soccer family is heartbroken to learn of the loss of Grant Wall,” US Soccer said in a statement on its official Twitter account.
“Grant made football his life’s work and we are devastated that he and his brilliant writings are no longer with us.”
US Soccer praised Wall for his passion and “belief in the power of the game to advance human rights” and offered its condolences to Wall’s wife Celine Gunder and his loved ones.
Gounder also posted a US Soccer statement on Twitter.
“I am so grateful for the support of my husband Grant Wall’s football family and the many friends who reached out tonight. Gounder, a former CNN contributor who served as a contributor, writes:
State Department spokesman Ned Price said the State Department is “in close contact” with Wall’s family. World Cup organizers also said they were in contact with the US embassy to “ensure that the repatriation process for the bodies is in line with the wishes of the families.”
According to his website, Wall has covered football for over 20 years, including 11 World Cups, and has written several books on the sport.
A post on his official Twitter account said he had just celebrated his birthday earlier this week with “an amazing group of friends in the media at the World Cup”, adding that he was “so grateful to everyone”.
In an episode of the Futbol podcast with Grant Wahl, published just days before his death on December 6, he complained of feeling unwell.
“It was getting a lot worse, tightness, tightness, tightness in my chest. I felt pretty hairy and sick,” Wall told co-host Chris Whittingham on the episode. He added that he sought help at a clinic at the World Cup Media Center, believing he was in danger.
He was given cough syrup and ibuprofen, and immediately felt better afterward.
Wall also said he experienced “an unconscious surrender by my body and mind” after the December 3 game between the United States and the Netherlands.
“This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve done eight of these on the men’s side,” he said at the time. , I’m just trying to find a way to get my job done.”
He further described the incident in a recent newsletter published on December 5, writing that his body was “broken” due to little sleep, high stress and heavy work load. had had a cold for 10 days, but wrote that it had “become more serious,” adding that he felt better after being put on antibiotics and catching up on sleep.
Wall made headlines last November when he reportedly was temporarily denied entry to a World Cup match and detained for wearing a rainbow-colored T-shirt that supported LGBTQ rights.
He said security had told him to change his shirt because it was “not allowed” and stole his phone. Wall said he was released 25 minutes after being detained and received an apology from FIFA representatives and senior members of the stadium’s security team.
Wall then told CNN that he would “probably” wear that shirt again.
Wall’s death sent shockwaves through the football and sports journalism communities, with many paying tributes on social media.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement: “Just days ago, Grant was recognized by FIFA and AIPS for his contribution to the coverage of the eighth consecutive FIFA World Cup.
The co-editor of Sports Illustrated, the publication in which Wall spent most of his career, said in a joint statement that he was “shocked and devastated by the news of Grant’s death.”
“We are proud to call him a colleague and friend of 20 years. No other writer has been so passionate about ,” he said in a statement.
Wall first joined the publication in November 1996, adding that he volunteered to cover sports as a junior reporter for the world.
Wall also worked with other media outlets, including Fox Sports, according to a statement.After leaving Sports Illustrated in 2020, he began publishing a podcast and newsletter.
“I really liked Grant,” basketball star LeBron James said Friday in Philadelphia. When Wall was at Sports Illustrated, he created a cover story of James when James was in high school.
In his post-fight press conference, James said, “Even when I moved up the ranks and turned pro and he went to another sport, I always watched from a bit of a distance.” Every time it comes out, it reminds me of myself as a teenager.It reminds me of Grant in our building.It’s a tragic loss.”
Other current and former US soccer players, including Ali Krieger and Tony Meola, have expressed their condolences, as have sports bodies such as Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League.
Whittingham, co-host of Wall’s podcast, told CNN on Saturday that the news of his death was difficult to comprehend.
“For Americans, the first person to read an article about football was Grant Wall. It was a person,” said Whittingham.
Several journalists reported with Wall and shared stories of seeing him at multiple World Cups over the years.
“Before he was the best football cover, he was playing hoops and was very nice to me,” wrote famous broadcaster Dick Vitale.
Timmy T. Davis, the US Ambassador to Qatar, tweeted that Wall was “a well-known and highly respected reporter focused on beautiful games.”