Dan Apol, 1972-2016

Nov. 17, 2016, 4:12 p.m. (ET)

On Wednesday the volleyball community lost one of its own. Dan Apol, 44, passed away after suffering a brain aneurism on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Dan is survived by his wife Bonnie.

Dan was a referee for indoor, beach and sitting volleyball. At the NCAA level, he was an official of 15 years with the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and was in his 16th with the Mountain West Conference. Most recently he represented the United States as the sole American to referee in beach and sitting volleyball at the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. Yet his credentials on the volleyball court are only a component of who Dan was.

A friend, mentor, role model. A smile you could always count on. As many will reflect on Dan, not only today but in time to come, memories and stories of his positive influence will capture the legacy he now leaves behind.

Dan touched the lives of his family and friends whom he made all over the globe. He was a student of the game and of life. Wherever his travels took him, he immersed himself in the culture and the people. Dan's enduring charisma and zest for the opportunities around him was recognized this summer in Rio de Janeiro.

"It is hard to adequately describe the shock and sadness all of us at USAV feel over Dan's passing," said USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal. "He was too young and far too engaged in a full and vibrant life. It seems much too simple and easy to say, 'he will be greatly missed and long remembered.' Our thoughts and prayers are with Bonnie and his family."

"Dan was doing what he loved when he passed," said Glenn Sapp, the Commissioner of USA Volleyball's Rocky Mountain Region. "He has represented the RMR in so many wonderful capacities from driving a fork lift at the RMR Showdown, to representing the Region and USAV at the Olympics.

"On a personal level, I have known Dan for almost two decades and he is a friend and there to help on either a personal or professional level and I know I will miss him. I will always keep in mind Dan's favorite quote, 'Don't mess up!'"  

His close friend Keith Murlless shared on Thursday that:

"Bonnie, and all of the family, want you all to know just how important your support has been. Thousands of texts and emails. Millions of prayers. And the hospital courtyard is filled with local ski bums and vagrant referees, all here to say goodbye.

"But I need to ask you all a favor: The family needs time to grieve. Time to rest, and to begin to heal. Your quiet prayers are what they need, just now.

"Several of us will be setting up an information stream. Details, for those who want them. Also various means to say goodbye, through flowers, or donations, or what have you. I'll be posting links to this information on Facebook, and publishing them through referee channels as well.

"We will also publish the details of services, as soon as they are known."

Information on a memorial fund in Dan's memory will be forthcoming.