Grant Wahl, an American sports writer who became one of the most prominent soccer journalists in the United States, passed away Friday while covering the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. He was 49.
Wahl's agent confirmed to The New York Times that his client had died. "He wasn't sleeping well, and I asked him if he tried melatonin or anything like [that]," his agent said. "He said, 'I just need to like relax for a bit.'"
Eyewitnesses told CNN that Wahl was covering the match between Argentina and the Netherlands when he collapsed. Qatari officials said he was given treatment in the stadium for about a half hour, but first responders were unable to revive him. A cause of death has not been announced, though Wahl had previously said in an episode of his podcast that he had been feeling unwell.
In a statement on social media, U.S. Soccer said they were "heartbroken" to learn of his passing.
"Fans of soccer and journalism of the highest quality knew we could always count on Grant to deliver insightful and entertaining stories about our game," the statement read. "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."
Wahl's death comes days after he made international headlines by attempting to wear a rainbow shirt in support of LGBT rights to a World Cup stadium. Security told him the shirt wasn't allowed and reportedly detained him for nearly 25 minutes before he was released.