Championship Sunday of last weekend’s PPA Austin Showdown began with the announcement that Thanh Vo, a competitor in Men’s Senior Singles, had tragically passed away during his first match on Thursday, March 16.
After a moment of silence for him, the PPA Tour shared the GoFundMe fundraiser started by Thanh’s children, Emily and John, to help support the family in their time of need. The pickleball community has since helped raise over $13,000, which will go towards the costs of memorial arrangements and transporting Thanh back to his home in Nashville, TN.
Fellow senior pro player, Tim Ringgold, reported that Thanh collapsed shortly after finishing his first match, and another pro player who happened to be a doctor was present to tend to him before paramedics arrived. Thanh’s wife of 27 years, Tien, was by his side during his final moments.
Thanh’s daughter Emily shared the following statement with the PPA, which was announced to the audience in attendance at Championship Sunday:
“Thanh was introduced to the sport of pickleball while visiting his daughter in Seattle and quickly fell in love with it. He was a remarkable soccer player and tennis player, but soon dedicated all of his energy to pickleball, making time to play every day after work. His dream was to travel across the country to play in pickleball tournaments, and this was his first and only PPA Tour event. He was a big fan of Ben Johns, the Tennessee Titans, and his home state and alma mater, the East Carolina Pirates.
The only thing Thanh loved more than pickleball was his family. The colors that the professional players are wearing today pinned on them represent the schools that both his son and daughter went to: The University of Washington and the University of Tennessee. He loved his children above all and he was the proudest father and husband.
Thanh is survived by his wife and two children, who remember him as a loving husband, father, and passionate athlete.”
Today, Thanh is remembered for the incredible person he was. His obituary shares how supportive he was of his family and community, and how his love of sports and pickleball seemed to strengthen his bonds with the people in his life.
Thanh’s tragic passing reminds us that pickleball is more than just a sport we all love to play. Pickleball is about the community of players that bring this sport to life; it’s all about the moments shared when playing that can bring us together when we aren’t on the court.
The pickleball community will always cherish players like Thanh who seek to bring joy and love to everyone they meet while on the court. If you’re able to, please consider donating to Thanh’s family during this difficult time: https://www.gofundme.com/f/thanh-vo
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