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Tribune Reporter Suicide

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JOHANNESBURG – A sportswriter from the United States covering the 2010 FIFA World Cup leaped to his death Sunday evening in an apparent suicide, just moments after attending the finals and filing a story with the Chicago Tribune.

Andrew Wathan, 46, jumped from his 2nd floor balcony at the Hyatt Regency Johannesburg Hotel, less than an hour after a verbal tirade in the press box led to security escorting him from Soccer City Stadium nearly 55 minutes into the final match. Spain would later defeat the Netherlands 1-0 with a goal in the 116th minute.

Hotel guests watching the game at the Hyatt Regency pool reported hearing screams consistent with rage, then noticed debris being strewn from the Tribune writer’s balcony.

Wathan, of Schaumburg, Ill., promptly announced his intentions to end his life, jumping at the 87th minute of regulation. Moments later, Wathan was seen approaching the front desk, soaking wet, asking for a room that did not overlook the pool.

“There were no other rooms available, I tell him,” said front desk clerk Kagiso Salzwedel, “Today is World Cup finals, I tell him tomorrow we have more option but he say he can’t wait. So he return to his room.”


Subsequent suicide attempts at the 93rd and 96th minute were followed by a 15 minute pause, a witness said. Police investigators theorize that Wathan sent his game coverage to the Tribune during this break, as the timeline with that supplied by the eyewitness are said to coordinate. At the 111th minute, with the match still tied nil-nil and with a running start, the fourth attempt proved to be the charm and Wathan was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Five minutes later, Andrés Iniesta scored the winning goal, handing Spain it’s first World Cup title.

Little is known of Wathan but it’s believed he was married with two children, was an ardent fan of American sports and not a huge lover of octopus.

The Tribune has not yet released the transcript of Wathan’s final story, pending police review by authorities here as well as in Chicago.

********UPDATE********  JULY 14, 2010 — Chicago Tribune releases transcript of report sent by sportswriter moments before he plunged to his death.

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