The Miami Marlins organization and baseball fans everywhere received heartbreaking news early Sunday morning after ace pitcher. José Fernández was killed in a boating accident off the coast of Florida.
He was just 24 years old.
Fernández and two others died in the accident after their boat crashed into a jetty going full speed, before landing upside down.
Fernández died from the impact. Drugs and alcohol were not suspected as factors in his death.
The Miami Marlins were expected to play the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, but the game was canceled due to Fernández’s death.
In a press conference on Sunday, Marlins manager Don Mattingly said, “There’s just joy with him when he played.”
“You just see that little kid that you see when you watch kids play Little League or something like that. That’s the joy José played with and the passion he felt about playing,” Mattingly said.
In a post on Instagram, teammate Giancarlo Stanton said of Fernández, “Extraordinary as a person before the player. Yet still just a kid, whose joy lit up the stadium more than lights could. A kid whose time came too soon.”
Players all around the league are remembering the impact that Fernández left on them and Major League Baseball as a whole.
Red Sox cleanup hitter David “Big Papi” Ortiz tweeted, “I don’t have the words to describe the pain [I] feel for the loss of my friend.”
Yasiel Puig and Mike Trout were among those who also expressed their sadness and condolences.
Major League Baseball held a league wide moment of silence for Fernández, and many teams have been hanging his jersey in their dugouts in his memory.
“He was one of our game’s great young stars who made a dramatic impact on and off the field
since his debut in 2013,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.
Fernández, a Cuban defector, spent a few months in prison when he was 15 after his fourth try to flee to the United States. He became a U.S. citizen in April 2015.
Fernández pitched an eight-inning shutout last Tuesday in Miami’s 1-0 victory over the Washington Nationals, striking out a total of 12 batters. It was his 76th and final game.