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US sports journalist dies suddenly while covering World Cup

An American sports journalist has died after suddenly collapsing during the World Cup.

Grant Wahl, 48, fell to the ground at the start of extra time in the Argentina-Netherlands game on Friday night.

Qatar World Cup organizers said on Saturday that Wahl “became ill” in the press area, where he received “immediate medical treatment on site”.

Initial reports suggest he may have had a heart attack, but this has yet to be officially confirmed.

The circumstances of his death are unclear.

Wahl was briefly detained by authorities in Qatar for wearing a rainbow shirt, in solidarity with the LGBT community earlier this month.

Tributes poured in for the veteran sports correspondent.

US Soccer said it was “heartbroken to learn” of Wahl’s death.

He praised Wahl’s “belief in the power of play to advance human rights”, offering his condolences to his wife Celine Gounder and their loved ones.

Gounder responded to US Soccer’s statement on Twitter, saying she was “in complete shock”.

Qatar World Cup organizers Supreme Delivery and Legacy Committee (SC) paid tribute to Wahl’s “enormous love of football” and offered condolences to his family, friends and his media colleagues.

Wahl, a former Sports Illustrated writer who moved to online publishing platform Substack, had tweeted about the Netherlands-Argentina game earlier on Friday.

His agent, Tim Scanlan, told reporters that Wahl “seemed to be in some kind of acute distress at the start of extra time” during the quarter-final match.

Scanlan said attempts were made to revive Wahl in the press box before he was taken to a local hospital, where he was confirmed dead.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the department was in “close communication” with Wahl’s family.

World Cup organizers also said they were in contact with the US Embassy “to ensure that the process of repatriating the body is in accordance with the wishes of the family”.

Wahl had covered football for more than two decades, including 11 World Cups, and authored several books on the sport, according to his website.

He had just celebrated his birthday earlier this week.

euronews Gt

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