Baseball fans, players and coaches, family, friends and the Cuban American community mourned the death over the weekend of 24-year-old Miami Marlins pitching ace José Fernández.
Fernández was one of three people killed when the boat he was a passenger in crashed into a jetty and overturned off the shore of Miami Beach on Sunday. The two other victims were identified as Eddy Rivero and Emilio Macias, friends of his. Two bodies were found under the vessel, and one was found in the water by divers.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
During the team's news conference Marlins manager, Don Mattingly, paused between words as he spoke through tears and said, "When you talk about someone whose personality could outshine his talent — normally it's the other way around — and in this case, his love of family and the game and being José, you know that's a lot of the stories being told around Miami right now".
The Santa Clara, Cuba native made four attempts to leave Cuba and was arrested on two of those attempts. During one of the voyages, his mother, Maritza Fernández, fell overboard and the 15-year old Fernández saved her by pulling her 60 feet back into the boat.
The fourth attempt, a successful one, landed the family in Tampa, Florida, where Fernández took various high school English courses to learn the language. In 2011, the Miami Marlins drafted Fernández at 19. He moved up to baseball's major leagues in 2013.
He became a citizen last year.
The Cuban American played for the Miami Marlins from the year he was drafted in 2013 until his time of death.
Fernández, a father-to-be, won National's Rookie of the Year in 2013. During his four-season career, he was named an All-Star player registering 16 wins and 8 losses, a 2.86 ERA, and 253 strikeouts in 182.1 innings this year. His All Star appearance this year was his second.
The tragic and sudden death has left team members and fans in utter shock. Mourners filled Twitter with their condolences and thoughts.
Along with tributes to baseball, fans paid tribute to his Cuban routes and the perilous journeys he made to the U.S. and his impending fatherhood.
The Marlins canceled their Sunday game and painted Fernández's number, 16, on the mound at Marlins park, ESPN reported. Major League Baseball held a moment of silence before each of Sunday's games.
Weeks before his tragic death, Fernández had announced that he was going to be a father. On Sunday, the pitcher's grandmother, Olga Fernández broke down in tears and said that this was the hardest hit she received in life.
"Deep in our hearts there is a lot of pain," third baseman Martin Prado said. "Somehow we've got to overcome that."