Jim Johannson, general manager of the United States Olympic men's hockey team, has died unexpectedly, it was announced today.
The 53-year-old Johannson was due to lead the US team at Pyeongchang 2018 after helping select the team.
He died in his sleep this morning.
USA Hockey executive director Pat Kelleher claimed they are "beyond shocked and profoundly saddened" by the news.
"As accomplished as Jim was in hockey, he was the absolute best, most humble, kind and caring person you could ever hope to meet," Kelleher said.
"His impact on our sport and more importantly the people and players in our sport have been immeasurable.
"Our condolences go out to his entire family, but especially to his loving wife Abby and their young daughter Ellie."
Johannson had played for the US at the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary and Albertville.
"We lost a true friend in Jim Johannson today," US coach and 1988 Olympic teammate Tony Granato said.
"He was so compassionate and as loyal a friend as you could have.
"He was the ultimate teammate."
Johannson began working for USA Hockey in 2000 after spending five years as the general manager of the Twin Cities Vulcans in the United States Hockey League.
He was promoted to assistant executive director of hockey operations in 2007, overseeing its teams preparations for international competition.
"We mourn the tragic and untimely loss of Jim Johannson, who has been one of the most prominent figures in American hockey for decades, both as a player and an administrator," Scott Blackmun, the chief executive of the United States Olympic Committee, said.
"He will be acutely missed at the upcoming Olympic Winter Games by the team he assembled, the international hockey community and the global Olympic family.
"We offer our deepest condolences to his family - and all those who knew him - at this difficult time."
The US is due to open its Olympic ice hockey campaign at Pyeongchang 2018 with a match against Slovenia on February 14.