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The body of American soccer journalist Grant Wahl has returned to the United States and will undergo an independent autopsy in New York City following his sudden death at the World Cup.
Wahl collapsed while covering the Argentina-Netherlands match on December 9 and was later pronounced dead.
Wahl’s widow, Dr. Celine R. Gounder, reportedly had his body brought to a city medical examiner on Monday. Dr. Gounder was a member of the COVID-19 advisory board transition team of then-incoming president Joe Biden.
Wahl made headlines earlier on at the World Cup when he said he was detained and briefly refused entry into a stadium in Qatar for wearing a rainbow t-shirt in support of LGBTQ rights. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and carries a prison sentence of up to three years.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated on Monday that there is “no indication of foul play or anything nefarious at this point.”
Shortly after news broke of Wahl’s passing, his brother, Eric, posted a since-deleted video to social media implying there was foul play involved in his death. Eric shared a separate tweet implying foul play was involved as well.
During a recent episode of his ‘Futbol with Grant Wahl’ podcast, Wahl shared that he had recently come down with bronchitis while in Qatar. He also made it clear he wasn’t the only journalist that had come down with a serious cough.
“I took some time off myself. We had two days here without games after 17 straight days of games. My body, I think told me, even after the US went out ‘dude, you are not sleeping enough.’ And, it rebelled on me. I’ve had a case of bronchitis this week,” Wahl explained. “I’ve been to the medical clinic at the media center twice now, including today. I’m feeling better today.
“I’m coughing a lot. Everyone is coughing here. This is by no means limited to me. So many journalists have gotten a crazy cough that sounds like a death rattle sometimes.”
Wahl also said he experienced an “involuntary capitulation by my body and mind” after the US-Netherlands game on December 3. He wrote in a newsletter on December 5 that his body had “broken down.”
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris