Tributes poured in for Grant Wahl as FIFA honoured the US sports journalist with a tribute on the desk where he was due to work Saturday at the World Cup quarterfinal match between France and England.
- A photograph of Wahl was displayed on big screens at a match on Saturday
- An announcement about his death was made to fans who applauded him
- Wahl fell ill while working during the Argentina-Netherlands quarterfinal
A posy of white lilies and a framed photograph of Wahl taken in Qatar was left at the media seat that had been assigned to the 49-year-old writer who died in the early hours of Saturday.
“Tonight we pay tribute to Grant Wahl at his assigned seat in Al Bayt Stadium. He should have been here,” FIFA said in a statement.
“Our thoughts remain with his wife Céline, his family, and his friends at this most difficult time.”
About 20 minutes before the match started, the photograph of Wahl was displayed on big screens in two corners of the stadium.
An announcement about his death was made to fans who applauded him.
Wahl fell ill while working during extra time of the Argentina-Netherlands game on Friday, local time, at Lusail Stadium.
He was treated by medical staff in the media tribune and later taken by ambulance to the hospital.
Wahl’s brother Eric has posted a video to social media speculating the circumstances around Wahl’s death.
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“I am gay, I am the reason he wore the rainbow shirt to the World Cup,” he said.
“He told me he received death threats.
“I do not believe my brother just died.”
There is no evidence at this point of foul play according to authorities.
Wahl was reporting at his eighth World Cup.
The US soccer community shared in an immediate outpouring of grief over the news.
“He was a kind and caring person whose passion for soccer and dedication to journalism were immeasurable,” Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber said.
“This is so devastating,” two-time World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe said on Twitter.
“All the love to his family and loved ones.”