José Fernández, the star pitcher for the Miami Marlins, was killed Sunday morning in a boating accident off Miami Beach.
According to authorities, the 24-year-old was one of three people who died in the crash. At 3:15am, the Coast Guard noticed an upside down vessel on the north side jetty. All three men that were on the boat were confirmed dead on scene.
Fernández was a favorite in Miami. He was drafted in 2011 by the Marlins and was in the majors two years later. In 2013, the pitcher won Major League Baseball‘s rookie of the year award.
Born in Santa Clara, Cuba, Fernández was also known for having tried three times to defect—ending up with a prison term for each attempt. In 2007, he and his mother and sister finally were successful. But when they hit rough waters, his mother fell overboard and he dived in to save her. Fernández’s family settled in Tampa, Florida, where he attended high school.
The Miami Marlins and baseball community have been hit hard by the news. His team team released a statement, saying it was “devastated by the tragic loss.” Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Braves has been canceled.
Statement from the Miami Marlins organization: pic.twitter.com/6A4Rv6m2g9— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) September 25, 2016
The Marlins also held a press conference. Marlins Manager Don Mattingly shared memories of the pitcher.
Marlins Manager Don Mattingly tearfully remembers the life and legacy of José Fernández. pic.twitter.com/BeuYgxHPHV— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 25, 2016
A lot of tears at Marlins press conference for Jose Fernandez pic.twitter.com/Tw5WsbJ0fU— clarkspencer (@clarkspencer) September 25, 2016
Rohan Nadkarni at Sports Illustrated wrote that Fernández “was one of the most fun-loving, joyful humans to ever play baseball.” Many colleagues and fans have also posted to social media their condolences.
Lost an important player to the game last night. Jose Fernandez brought so much energy and passion to the sport. He will be missed. RIP JDF— Christian Arroyo (@arroyo_c) September 25, 2016
Appreciate life and your loved ones everyday. RIP José Fernández— Mo (@_Ramadan1) September 25, 2016
This just shows you how great of a person Jose Fernandez was. Rest easy Jose. pic.twitter.com/kURXxyzx0j— Kent (@RealKentMurphy) September 25, 2016
Jose Fernandez is one of the most genuine guys I've ever played with. He loved life, he loved baseball…..he will be missed dearly.— dan haren (@ithrow88) September 25, 2016
The Yankees released a statement on Jose Fernandez pic.twitter.com/TfajPvwSJ4— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) September 25, 2016
So sad. Prayers for Jose Fernandez and his family. Such a joy watching him play the game. He will truly be missed.— Kris Bryant (@KrisBryant_23) September 25, 2016
According to MLB, there will be a league-wide moment of silence before each of Sunday’s games in memory of Fernández.