US journalist who was detained in Qatar for wearing gay pride shirt dies, brother suspects foul play

A US-based sports journalist, who was briefly detained in Qatar for wearing a rainbow shirt as a way of expressing support for LGBTQ, has died.

Grant Wahl (49) collapsed on Friday while covering the World Cup match between Argentina and the Netherlands.

According to media reports, Wahl suddenly lost consciousness while being seated in the press box at Lusail Iconic Stadium during extra time.

Emergency services were called in and quickly took Wahl to a hospital. It was later declared that the journalist had died.

“NPR can confirm the death of longtime soccer sportswriter Grant Wahl. He died today in Doha, Qatar while covering the Argentina-Netherlands World Cup quarterfinal (sic),” an NPR reporter tweeted late on Friday

US Soccer in a tweet said it was “heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl.”

Grant’s brother Eric in a video posted on Instagram on Friday announced his death while suspecting foul play.

“My name is Eric Wahl. I live in Seattle, Washington, I am Grant Wahl’s brother,” he said announcing his brother’s death on Instagram.

“I am gay, I am the reason he wore the rainbow shirt to the World Cup. My brother was healthy, he told me he received death threats. I do not believe my brother just died. I believe he was killed, and I just beg for any help.”

Notably, a few days earlier, Wahl had visited a medical clinic in Qatar due to high stress.

“My body finally broke down on me. Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and lots of work can do that to you,” Wahl wrote in his blog.

“What had been a cold over the last 10 days turned into something more severe on the night of the USA-Netherlands game, and I could feel my upper chest take on a new level of pressure and discomfort.”

“I didn’t have Covid (I test regularly here), but I went into the medical clinic at the main media center today, and they said I probably have bronchitis. They gave me a course of antibiotics and some heavy-duty cough syrup, and I’m already feeling a bit better just a few hours later. But still: No bueno.”

Wahl was earlier associated with Sports Illustrated before launching his own website Substack.

(With inputs from agencies)

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