The IKF is mourning the death of one of the founding fathers of the sport in America ©IKF

Ralph Davis, considered one of the "founding fathers" of korfball in the United States, has died at the age of 96.

The International Korfball Federation (IKF) confirmed the American had passed away in the company of his family last week.

Davis was described as one of the "pioneers" of korfball by the sport's worldwide governing body, who was also given the IKF Badge of Honour.

He was one of the reasons why the sport was introduced in the US in the 1970s and he served as President of the US Korfball Federation.

Davis was also a coach of the Portland State University Korfball Team during his long career in the sport, which is continuing to grow in America.

Along with Jan Broekhoff, he is credited with bringing korfball to the States, hence his "founding father" nickname.

Former US Korfball Federation President Ralph Davis has died aged 96 ©IKF
Former US Korfball Federation President Ralph Davis has died aged 96 ©IKF

He is likely to be remembered at the 2021 World Games, due to take place in Birmingham in Alabama, where korfball will feature prominently on the programme.

As well as his involvement with the sport, Davis was also "very active in the gym until recently, practising other activities," according to the IKF, and enjoyed spells as a a coach in football, track and cross-country athletics. 

He was a Seaside and Gearhart ocean-front lifeguard, credited with 250 life-saving rescues, and also taught physical education in Portland.

Davis was founder and director of the Seaside Marathon and its summer Beach Run, and he created the latter in 1966 together with his late wife Betty.

"The global korfball community have lost a pioneer in korfball and a friend of many," the IKF said in a statement. 

"We send our condolences to Vaunda, Bryan, Scott and their families."