Tragedy has struck the world of professional sports:
Jose Fernandez, one of the best young players in Major League Baseball, was found dead early Sunday morning.
He was 24 years old.
The U.S. Coast Guard has confirmed Fernandez was one of three people killed in a boat crash off Miami Beach after the vessel he was on crashed into a jetty.
In response to the tragedy, the Miami Marlins announced that Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Braves had been canceled. The team also released the following statement:
“The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the tragic loss of José Fernández. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time.”
Chief Petty Officer Nyxolyno Cangemi told The Associated Press that a Coast Guard patrol boat spotted an overturned boat at approximately 3:30 a.m. on a jetty near Government Cut.
The bodies of all three victims were discovered a short while later.
Fernandez was on a 32-foot board that had a “severe impact” with the jetty, said Fish and Wildlife spokesman Lorenzo Veloz.
Just last week, Fernandez had announced that his girlfriend was pregnant.
“All of Baseball is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández,” Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.
“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.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, the Miami Marlins organization and all of the people he touched in his life.”
Fernandez emigrated to the United States from Cuba in 2008, following three failed defection attempts.
He eventually settled in Tampa, Florida and became a United States citizen last year.
He was the 14th overall draft pick in 2011 by the Marlins, out of Tampa’s Alonso High School.
Two years later, Fernandez was named the National League Rookie of the Year.
This past year, he was 16-8 with a 2.86 ERA this season, earning his second appearance in the All-Star Game.
Major League Baseball Players Associated executive director Tony Clark also released a statement Sunday morning in response to the awful news:
“We are devastated by the news that Jose Fernandez has tragically passed. Jose was a remarkable young man and a tremendously gifted athlete, who at just 24, established himself as one of the game’s biggest and brightest stars.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jose’s family, friends, teammates, Miami Marlins organization and legions of fans in the United States and Latin America.”
We also send our thoughts and prayers to Fernandez’s friends, family members and loved ones.