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Journalist Grant Wahl collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack while covering a World Cup quarterfinal soccer match in Qatar on Friday.

Wahl, 48, was covering the World Cup for NBC Sports and CBS Sports when he collapsed and died in the media center at Lusail Stadium.

According to, Wahl had complained about a wet cough that he described as a “death rattle” the day before he died.

“What had been a cold turned into something more severe,” he wrote in a post on on Dec. 5.

Wahl said he visited a clinic in the media center where he was told he probably had bronchitis. He was prescribed antibiotics and given “some heavy-duty cough syrup.”

“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.”

His agent, Tim Scanlan, told the New York Times that Wahl experienced “acute distress” in the media center in the final minutes of the soccer match.

An American reporter seated near him said Wahl was “laughing” at a joke on Twitter minutes before he fell back in his seat.

Rafael Cores, a journalist for Univision, wrote: “He was working on his story on his laptop, it was about 4 minutes before the end of the extra time. He was laughing at a joke we saw on Twitter only minutes earlier. I can’t believe it. My deepest condolences to Grant Wahl’s family.”

Emergency services workers arrived quickly and worked on him for about 20 minutes before carrying the unresponsive journalist to an ambulance. Reporters were told later that he had died.

Photo may have been deleted

In an Instagram video, Wahl’s distraught brother, Eric, said through tears that he believed Wahl was murdered for being an LGBT+ ally.

Wahl had been briefly detained before the United States’ opener against Wales for wearing a pro-LGBT+ rainbow flag shirt, according to He was eventually allowed into the stadium.

Eric, who is openly gay, said his brother wore the shirt to show support for the LGBT+ community. “I am the reason he wore the rainbow shirt to the world cup. I do not believe my brother just died, I believe he was killed,” he cried.

Wahl was a staunch supporter of the COVID mRNA vaccines. He proudly displayed proof of his first vaccine in a tweet dated April 7, 2021.

He and his wife spoke out against anti-vaxxers on Twitter.

Wahl was married to Dr. Celine Gounder, a pro-vaccine advocate who recently called on Facebook, Twitter, and Google to “deplatform” media outlets and public citizens who spread “anti-vaccine disinformation” online.

In her testimony before Congress in April, Celine Grounder complained that Facebook, Twitter, and Google had failed to act on 95% of the COVID misinformation reported to them.

She said social media platforms should adopt a “two strike rule” that gives “a warning after a first misinformation post, and deplatforming after the second.”

In a somber tweet after her husband’s untimely death on Friday night, Grounder wrote, “I’m in complete shock.”