Prominent US journalist Grant Wall has died while covering the Argentina-Netherlands World Cup soccer match in Qatar.
His sudden death has cast a shadow of mourning across the sports world, reported international media.
News agency Reuters quoted Grant Wall’s agent as saying he died of “extreme agony” while busy reporting on the game on Friday.
A witness told CNN that he “fell” in the press box area of the stadium.
They said that it is not known how the surrounding conditions were at the time of his death.
“The entire US soccer family is heartbroken to know we have lost Grant Wall,” the US government said in a statement on Twitter. Grant made football a part of his life. We are devastated that we will no longer have him and his brilliant writings.”
US Soccer praised Wall’s passion and his “belief in the power of soccer to advance human rights.” They offered their condolences to Wall’s wife Celine Gounder and his loved ones.
In response to US Soccer’s statement, Gounder said he was “absolutely stunned by the news.”
Wall once worked at Sports Illustrated before joining online publishing platform Substack. He was tweeting about the Argentina-Netherlands game on Friday.
His agent, Tim Scanlan, told Reuters that Wall “started to suffer some severe pain” early in extra time of the quarter-final match. Attempts were made to revive him in the press box, after which doctors pronounced him dead after being taken on a stretcher to a local hospital.
FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wall’s death, Reuters reported.
Qatar’s international media office and the World Cup organizer’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.
“Everybody is emotional and it’s really painful,” said Scanlan.
In late November, Wall said he tried to enter a stadium in Qatar wearing a rainbow T-shirt to show support for the LGBTQ community, but was briefly detained by security staff in the country, which bans ‘gay relationships’.
He said the incident took place on the first day of the USA’s game at Al Rayyan’s Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium. World Cup security staff stopped him from entering and asked him to remove his T-shirt, but he sat there without removing his shirt when a senior official came and took him inside.
In a post on Substack on Monday (November 5), Wall said he visited a hospital in Qatar.
“We don’t have covid (I get tested regularly here), but went to the medical clinic in the main media center today. They said, I probably have bronchitis.”
From there he was given cough syrup and ibuprofen and later reported feeling better.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Twitter that the department is in close contact with Wall’s family.
“We are in touch with senior officials in Qatar to see that his family’s wishes are fulfilled as soon as possible,” he said.