The 17-year-old daughter of Toronto Blue Jays' first base coach Mark "Bud" Budzinski died Saturday, reportedly after a boating accident in Virginia.
The team released a statement Sunday confirming the death of Julia Budzinski, the eldest daughter of Budzinski and his wife, Monica. Her cause of death hasn't yet been publicly confirmed.
“This devastating loss is felt by our entire organization and we grieve alongside Bud and his family,” said Ross Atkins, the Blue Jays’ executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager. “I have known Bud for more than 25 years and have always admired his commitment as a dad and husband first. He is loved and well-respected by our entire clubhouse and holds a special place in all our hearts.”
Budzinski will be away from the team to be with his family, which includes two surviving children, the statement said.
Budzinski formerly played for the Cincinnati Reds and is in his fourth season as the Blue Jays’ first base coach, according to The Washington Post.
He left the third inning of a Blue Jays game on Saturday because of what was described as a "personal matter," The Associated Press reported.
The Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays held a moment of silence in Julia Budzinski's honor before the first pitch of Sunday's game, where an image of her was projected on a giant screen, the AP reported.
A representative for the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources said a 17-year-old girl died Saturday after she and another girl fell off a tube being pulled by a boat and the boat's propeller struck the victim after the boat hit a wave, pushing it on top of her.
"The operator immediately jumped into the river to rescue the victim, as did another passing boat operator," the statement said.
No foul play is suspected, and alcohol wasn’t a factor, the department said, noting that "lifejackets were worn."
Information about the condition of the other girl who fell off the tube wasn’t immediately available.
Students from Glen Allen High School, where Budzinski was a rising senior, gathered Sunday night for a vigil in her memory, where Mark and Monica Budzinski also made appearances, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
“She had just the best year. She had an awesome year,” Monica Budzinski said of her daughter at the vigil, according to the newspaper.
Of her daughter's day Saturday, she added: “It was a very happy, fun last day on Earth for her, sadly, obviously. But it was happy, laughing, having a good time.
“That’s the way I’m going to remember her, and that’s the way everybody needs to. She loved life. She loved being outside, sports, everything. She’ll live on through all you guys.”
Budzinski played varsity soccer and volleyball at her high school and was involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Times-Dispatch reported. She was also vice president of the school’s National Honor Society chapter and an avid volunteer with organizations that assist people with disabilities, the newspaper reported.