Carl Madsen, a National Football League veteran official, died Sunday on his way home from the Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans game in Nashville, the league told CNN. He was 71.
The cause of death is unknown.
"Carl Madsen was an NFL officiating fixture for more than two decades, first as a highly-respected on-field official before transitioning to a replay role beginning in 2009," Walt Anderson, NFL senior vice president of officiating training and development, said in a statement.
"A terrific friend and colleague, Carl's love of football and dedication to officiating was ever-present, as he generously shared his time to mentor young officials at clinics across the country. A veteran of the Air Force, Carl had a tremendous spirit and will be greatly missed."
Madsen, who served in the US Air Force from 1973-76, had been a replay official since 2009, according to NFL.com, making him, along with another official, the most experienced of the league's 17 replay officials.
Prior to his replay official role, Madsen was an on-field official from 1997-2008.
"Carl will be missed by those who worked with him on the field and in replay," Scott Green, NFL Referees Association president, said in a statement to Pro Football Talk. "He had a nickname among his fellow officials of 'Big Country' which was not only related to his size but to his big personality as a warm and generous man."
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