2016-11-17 13:03:00 CEST

Dan Apol 1972-2016

Tributes pour in following the sudden death of international beach volleyball referee

Dan Apol was an international referee on the FIVB World Tour for 12 seasons. Dan Apol was an international referee on the FIVB World Tour for 12 seasons.

It is with deep sadness that the Swatch Major Series has learned of the sudden death of FIVB referee Dan Apol on Wednesday.

The 44-year-old American officiated at his second summer Olympics in Rio in August and was a hugely popular and respected figure on the FIVB World Tour.

Dan was part of the refereeing team at two Swatch Major Series events in 2016, and whistled the second men’s semifinal at the Gstaad Major in July between Pedro Solberg/Evandro and Herrera/Gavira and oversaw the men's final at the Poreč Major between Austrians Doppler/Horst and Brazilians Alison/Bruno.

We spoke to Dan in Gstaad about the FIVB’s experiments with the Hawkeye system and how important a role advanced technology was playing in beach volleyball.

Dan spent 12 seasons on the FIVB World Tour and oversaw over 600 matches since becoming an international referee in 2007. He was the second referee in the men's Olympic final this summer and was first referee in the women's semifinal between Ludwig/Walkenhorst and Larissa/Talita.

He will be greatly missed by everyone at the Swatch Major Series and in the beach volleyball world.

American star Kerri Walsh Jennings was one of the first to pay tribute to Dan on her Facebook page.

God Bless and God speed Dan Apol 🙏 I sure loved

God Bless and God speed Dan Apol 🙏 I sure loved giving you grief 😊 You will most definitely be missed & never ever forgotten. Sending love to Bonnie and family ❤️🙏 AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour family

And Lori Okimura, the chairman of USA Volleyball, gave fans an update on her Facebook page.

Lori Okimura - Time for our worldwide volleyball family to... | Facebook

Time for our worldwide volleyball family to send their healing energy to Dan Apol. Learned he suffered an aneurism last night during a match and is now...

Our thoughts are with Dan’s family and friends at this difficult time.

Rest in Peace, Dan.

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