January 27, 2023

Grant Wahl’s body and belongings are being returned to New York following the shock death of a top US football journalist during the World Cup in Qatar… as Secretary of State Antony Blinken ‘thanks Qatari partners’ for speed of repatriation

The body of renowned American football journalist Grant Wahl has arrived in the United States, the State Department said Monday after his shock death at the World Cup in Qatar.

The official said Wahl’s remains and his belongings arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport around 8:30 a.m. ET.

They were accompanied by a consular officer from the US embassy in Doha who had custody of Wahl’s remains since shortly after he collapsed during Friday’s match between Argentina and the Netherlands and later died at the age of 49.

The body of well-known American football journalist Grant Wahl has arrived in the United States

The body of well-known American football journalist Grant Wahl has arrived in the United States

American journalist Grant Wahl has been returned to his family in the US. We are honored to have escorted him home, and are grateful to the government of Qatar for their cooperation and transparency in our consular process,” US Ambassador to Qatar Timmy Davis said in a tweet.

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

His agent said that at the start of extra time, Wahl “appeared to be in some sort of acute agony” going into the quarterfinals.

Wahl was a former Sports Illustrated sportswriter who moved to the online platform Substack

Wahl was a former Sports Illustrated sportswriter who moved to the online platform Substack

Grant Wahl smiles as he holds the World Cup replica trophy at the ceremony in Doha in November

Grant Wahl smiles as he holds the World Cup replica trophy at the ceremony in Doha in November

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

US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Monday that an autopsy would be performed on Wahl’s remains, which were with a medical examiner, but there was no evidence of foul play in his death.

“I extend my deepest condolences to his family and thank our embassy team and Qatari partners who worked so effectively together to fulfill their wishes,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken added on Twitter on Monday.

“I so appreciated Grant Wahl, whose writing captured not only the essence of the beautiful game, but also the world around it.”

Wahl wrote early last week that he visited a hospital in Qatar and health officials told him he likely had bronchitis.

Wahl said in late November that he was briefly stopped at a World Cup stadium security check when he tried to enter while wearing a rainbow shirt in support of the LGBTQ community. Same-sex relationships are illegal in Qatar.

He said World Cup security denied him access to the US opener against Wales and asked him to take his shirt off.

A tribute to Wahl is shown on a screen ahead of the England vs.  France Saturday

A tribute to Wahl is shown on a screen ahead of the England vs. France Saturday

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