Wahl’s death happened so suddenly, and while CBS News reported he suffered a heart attack — his death remains a mystery.
Witnesses who were near Wahl when he collapsed say they were shocked no defibrillator was nearby, especially at a billion-dollar stadium.
Wahl had said he’d been dealing with bronchitis in the days leading up to his death.
He also spent his time in Qatar reporting on the host government’s handling of human rights, criticizing their treatment of migrant workers.
A day before his passing, Wahl wrote on his Substack, “They just don’t care. Qatari World Cup organizers don’t even hide their apathy over migrant worker deaths, including the most recent one.”
Wahl was referring to the report from the Athletic that a migrant worker died last week after falling at his worksite at a FIFA training base in Qatar. FIFA confirmed the death on Thursday, but the response from the World Cup 2022 chief executive in an interview with BBC was rather shocking.
“We have a successful World Cup,” said Nasser Al Khater, chief executive of the 2022 World Cup in Doha. “And this [migrant worker’s death] is something you want to talk about right now? Death is a natural part of life, whether it’s at work, whether it’s in your sleep of course. A worker died and our condolences go to his family. However it’s strange that this is something that you want to focus on.”
In a recent interview, a top Qatari official estimated that as many as 500 migrant workers died while building the tournament grounds in the years leading up to the World Cup.
Wahl was also detained by Quatari security back in November for wearing a rainbow-themed soccer T-shirt in support of LGBTQ+ rights.
His brother Eric, who’s gay, suggested he was killed in a now-private video on Instagram, but again we still don’t have the cause of death.
Still, Wahl’s bravery and determination to stand up for what’s right, whether it be migrant workers or LGBTQ rights, was admired by so many.