Longtime NFL Replay Official Carl Madsen Dies at 71: 'Terrific Friend'

Carl Madsen — who joined the league in 1997 — died after leaving Sunday’s game with the Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans

Carl Madsen
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Longtime NFL replay official Carl Madsen died Sunday on his way home from working the Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans matchup. He was 71.

On Monday, Walt Anderson, NFL senior VP of officiating training and development, shared the news that Madsen died after leaving Nissan Stadium in Nashville, calling him a highly respected official for the league.

"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," he said in a statement. "A veteran of the Air Force, Carl had a tremendous spirit and will be greatly missed."

Carl Madsen
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According to the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD), Madsen was driving home when he had a medical emergency and police were notified of an SUV stalled on Interstate 65 with the driver unconscious, Westport News reports.

MNPD spokesperson Don Aaron told the outlet Monday that officers arrived, broke the window, removed Madsen from the car, and performed chest compressions. He later died after being transported to St. Thomas Midtown Hospital, per Westport.

The Metro Nashville Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Madsen's cause of death is unknown at this time.

Carl Madsen
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Carl Madsen
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According to the NFL, Madsen was a U.S. Air Force veteran — serving for three years — before joining the league as an on-field official from 1997 to 2008. He then transitioned to replay official in 2009. For the 2021-22 season, Madsen was working as a member of referee Brad Allen's crew and was one the NFL's most experienced replay officials.

Following the news of his death, executive director of the NFL Referees Association Scott Green shared a statement, ESPN reports.

"Carl will be missed by those who worked with him on the field and in replay. 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," he said.

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