Tributes pour in to soccer journalist Grant Wahl after his death at World Cup

Moments after it was reported that esteemed sports journalist Grant Wahl had died while covering the World Cup in Qatar, tributes to the CBS Sports contributor began pouring in online.

Wahl, 48, was in the press box for the quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands when he appeared to suffer “some kind of acute distress,” his agent, Tim Scanlan, told CBS News. Paramedics were called to the scene, Scanlan said, but were unable to revive him. He was brought to “a nearby hospital,” but Scanlan was unsure how he was taken there. 

A prolific journalist, Wahl wrote for multiple outlets and was a CBS Sports contributor. He was an analyst on CBS Sports HQ throughout the Qatar World Cup, and wrote guest columns focused on the U.S. men’s national team for CBS Sports. He was also an editorial consultant for soccer documentaries on Paramount+. 

Grant Wahl
FILE — Grant Wahl at a game between the U.S. men’s national team and Ecuador at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut, on Oct. 10, 2014.

Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Sports commentators and journalists paid tribute to Wahl’s impressive career. Senior CBS Sports writer and analyst Matt Norlander said he couldn’t “comprehend” Wahl’s loss. 

“That is not computing. If he’d wanted to, Grant would’ve been THE preeminent scribe in college basketball. Instead, he changed lanes and forever altered the way American soccer was covered and popularized. Legendary. This is a tragedy,” he tweeted

In a second post, he called Wahl “a great man and fearless reporter.” 

“Life is fragile and there is always a reminder in there to live each moment for what it is. Don’t worry about the past nor the future, take care of the now. It’s the only guarantee in life,” wrote Taylor Twellman, a former U.S. soccer player and media commentator.  

ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas tweeted that Wahl was “everything a great journalist should strive to be, and an even better person.” 

I’m devastated by the loss of Grant Wahl,” ESPN investigative reporter Don Van Natta Jr. wrote. “He was a peerless journalist and kind man whose coverage of soccer was fair an fearless.”

Several soccer teams also shared statements. 

“The beautiful game is better because of him,” Los Angeles women’s team Angel F.C. tweeted, crediting Wahl for his “contribution to the soccer community, especially women’s soccer.” 

Washington, D.C.’s soccer team called Wahl a “passionate and dedicated champion” of the game. 

The U.S. Soccer Federation said in a statement that the “entire U.S. soccer family is heartbroken” by Wahl’s death. Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber tweeted that the organization was “shocked, saddened and heartbroken” by his passing. 

The National Women’s Soccer League tweeted that it was “heartbroken” by the news, writing that Wahl’s “commitment to sharing the stories of our beautiful game was unmatched.”

In a tweet, Wahl’s wife, Dr. Celine Gounder, a medical contributor for CBS News, said that she was “in complete shock” and thanked Wahl’s “soccer family” and their friends for their support as the news was reported.  

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