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Apple data center chief dies at 41

Olivier Sanche, a well-respected data-center expert, helped build Apple's new $1 billion North Carolina server farm.

Olivier Sanche, Apple's chief of global data centers Olivier Sanche's Facebook page

Olivier Sanche, the man who oversaw Apple's global data center operations, died on Thursday, Apple has confirmed.

Sanche, 41, died of a heart attack on Thanksgiving Day, according to multiple reports from his friends.

"We are saddened by Olivier's passing," an Apple representative said today. "We will miss him tremendously and our thoughts are with his family,"

An Apple employee for 16 months, he played a big role in the building of Apple's $1 billion North Carolina data center, according to the Apple Insider blog.

Apple hasn't disclosed how it will use the data center, which some have begun calling the "orchard." But there is speculation that it will power the cloud services that Apple is working on, according to numerous sources.

Apple has also yet to disclose when the site will be operating.

Sanche formerly worked at eBay and AT&T.