Grant Wahl dead: Reporter’s devastated brother claims he was killed in Qatar over rainbow T-shirt row in emotional video
GRANT Wahl’s devastated brother believes he was murdered in Qatar after being detained over wearing a rainbow T-shirt.
The sports journalist, 48, died after suffering a suspected heart attack during the Netherlands versus Argentina quarter final match in Doha on Friday.
ReutersGrant Wahl was detained in Doha for wearing a rainbow T-shirt[/caption]
Grant’s brother, Eric Wahl, believes he was killed in QatarInstagram
TwitterSports journalist Grant Wahl (left) and his brother Eric[/caption]
US media sat near him said Grant fell back in his seat during extra time before journalists next to him called for help.
Emergency services rushed to the scene but he tragically died.
The journalist was covering his eighth World Cup, and made headlines earlier in the tournament when he claimed he was refused entry to a game for wearing a rainbow T-shirt.
In an emotional video, his heartbroken brother Eric Wahl questioned the circumstances surrounding his death.
“My name is Eric Wahl. I live in Seattle, Washington. I am Grant Wahl’s brother. I’m gay,” he said.
“I’m 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.”
In a post on Twitter, he said: “I spoke with Grant just the other day for his birthday. He thought he’d caught bronchitis. I no longer believe that’s what it was.”
Eric added: “We all want answers.”
A Qatar organising committee spokesperson said Grant “received immediate emergency medical treatment on site, which continued as he was transferred by ambulance to Hamad General Hospital”.
“We offer our deepest condolences to Grant’s family, friends and his many close colleagues in the media,” they added.
Grant’s wife Celine Gounder said she was in “complete shock” after her husband’s death.
She said: “I am so thankful for the support of my husband Grant Wahl’s soccer family & of so many friends who’ve reached out tonight. I’m in complete shock.”
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said authorities were in “close communication” with Grant’s family.
He said: “We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Grant Wahl and send our condolences to his family, with whom we have been in close communication.
“We are engaged with senior Qatari officials to see to it that his family’s wishes are fulfilled as expeditiously as possible.”
Grant had celebrated his 48th birthday in Qatar on Thursday – a day before he collapsed.
He hit the headlines earlier in the tournament when he was briefly detained and refused entry to the Wales-USA Group B game for wearing a rainbow shirt.
Security guards eventually let him wear it to the match.
On Monday, Grant said he had been diagnosed with bronchitis.
He wrote on his website: “My body finally broke down on me.
“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 and the main media center today, and they said I probably have bronchitis.”
FIFA President Gianni Infantino led tributes to the American sports journalist.
He said: “His love for football was immense and his reporting will be missed by all who follow the global game.
“We express our sincerest condolences to his wife Céline, his family, and his friends at this most difficult time.”
Piers Morgan said: “He was a brilliant journalist. RIP.”
The US Soccer Federation said: “The entire US Soccer family is heartbroken.
“Grant’s passion for soccer and commitment to elevating its profile across our sporting landscape played a major role in helping to drive interest in and respect for our beautiful game.”
Grant, who worked for Sports Illustrated from 1996 to 2021, was known for his coverage of football and college basketball.
He wrote a profile of Lebron James when the NBA superstar was in high school that is credited with making him a breakout star.
Superstar James would be drafted with the first pick of the NBA Draft about a year after appearing in the piece.
James paid tribute to the late sportswriter, describing his death as a “tragic loss”.
He said: “Even when I moved up in the ranks and became a professional and he kind of went to a different sport and things of that nature of the years, any time his name would come up I would always think back to me as a teenager and having Grant in our building down at St. V. So it’s a tragic loss.
“It’s unfortunate to lose someone as great as he was.”
FIFAGrant’s wife Celine Gounder said she was in ‘complete shock’ after her husband’s death[/caption]
GettyGrant celebrated his 48th birthday in Qatar on Thursday – a day before he collapsed[/caption]