US journalist Grant Wahl’s manager said his body was returned to the US for investigation after the reporter died while following the 2022 World Cup held in Qatar.
The 49-year-old journalist died Friday after collapsing during the Argentina v Netherlands match, CNN reported.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Wahl’s remains were returned to the US from Qatar. An autopsy will be done in New York.
Wahl was a prolific football reporter. He has covered 11 World Cups, six men and five women, and has written several books on the subject.
According to Qatar’s World Cup organizers, Wahl “got sick” while in the press. He received “emergency medical treatment on the spot” before being transported to a local hospital.
“As soon as we learned of Grant Wahl’s passing, we had excellent cooperation from our Qatari partners. Our ambassador … was in regular contact with senior Qatari government officials to see that we were in a position to fulfill the family’s wishes as quickly as possible,” Price said.
Mr Price further confirmed that “there are no signs of foul or anything bad at this point”.
Wahl hosted a podcast called “Soccer with Grant Wahl,” and said he felt sick just before his death.
“The tightness, the tightness, the pressure in my chest had gotten pretty bad,” he told co-host Chris Wittyngham. “The emotions are pretty hair, bad.”
Wahl said he sought help from the World Cup media center medical staff, who apparently thought he was showing signs of bronchitis. They gave him cough syrup and ibuprofen, which gave him some relief.
In a newsletter he produced, Wahl writes that his body “collapses” due to a mix of work-related stress and poor sleep.
Grant Wahl’s brother, Eric Wahl, tweeted this “The family will soon release a statement regarding the cause of death.”
Mr. Wahl previously thought his brother had been killed while working in Qatar for wearing a rainbow t-shirt to support the LGBTQ community. The reporter made headlines after being detained and was denied entry to the World Cup match for wearing the jersey, but was later released without further incident.
Eric Wahl initially suggested that the incident may have led to his brother’s death.
“My name is Eric Wahl. I live in Seattle, Washington, I’m Grant Wahl’s brother,” he tweeted on Friday. “I’m gay, I’m the reason he wore the rainbow shirt at the World Cup. My brother was healthy, he told me he had received death threats. I don’t believe my brother just died. I believe he was killed and I just beg for any help.”
Since then, Eric Wahl spoke to US officials about his brother’s situation and changed his mind.
“I no longer suspect it was a foul. It wasn’t a pulmonary embolism,” Eric Wahl wrote Tuesday, noting that more information will be available.