The crash occurred shortly after 12 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday when calls came into the sheriff’s office reporting a plane had gone down in the Gulf of Mexico just north of Holiday. Rumors that Halladay was the deceased person came shortly after when local news stations identified the Icon A5 plane’s identification number as one belonging to Halladay. Authorities, however, did not confirm either the plane’s ID number or the identity of the one deceased until 4:30 p.m.
The sheriff’s office, which confirmed no one else was on board the plane, said the National Transportation Safety Board was taking over the investigation as authorities attempt to determine a cause of the crash.
The specifics of the crash are still under investigation.— Pasco Sheriff (@PascoSheriff) November 7, 2017
Halladay, who was named an all-star eight times during his 16-season career, retired from baseball in 2013. He played 12 years for the Toronto Blue Jays before finishing his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, both of whom mourned Halladay’s death in a statements posted to Twitter.
“We are numb over the very tragic news about Roy Halladay’s untimely death,” the Phillies said. “There are no words to describe the sadness that the entire Phillies family is feeling over the loss of one of the most respected human beings to ever play the game.”
“The Toronto Blue Jays organization is overcome by grief with the tragic loss of one of the franchise’s greatest and most respected players, but even better human being,” the Blue Jays wrote.
“All of us at baseball are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic passing of former Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “A well-respected figure throughout the game, Roy was a fierce competitor during his 16-year career, which included eight all-star selections, two Cy Young Awards, a perfect game and a postseason no-hitter.
“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to his family, including his wife, Brandy, and two sons, Ryan and Braden, his friends and countless fans, as well as the Blue Jays and Phillies organizations.”
After retirement, Halladay, who is survived by his wife Brandy and their two children, made clear he was ready to pursue a new passion — aviation.
“I’ve been dreaming about flying since I was boy but was only able to become a pilot once I retired from baseball,” he told Jaysjournal.com (via the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.) recently.
One look at Halladay’s well-maintained Twitter account displays his love of aviation. His profile picture is a selfie in a cockpit and the banner photograph shows the amphibious plane that crashed. According to a recent tweet, it appears Halladay only procured the plane in mid-October.
Since becoming the owner of the plane, it appears Halladay took it up several times, including with friends and family.
Halladay’s final tweet, however, posted Sunday, was about the traveling youth baseball team he began coaching last summer.
Current and former baseball players took to social media Tuesday to express their shock and sadness at Halladay’s death.
I wanted to be Roy Halladay. I’m heartbroken, rest easy Doc.— dan haren (@ithrow88) November 7, 2017
Such a sad day. We lost a great ball player but an even better human being. Many prayers to Brandy, Ryan, & Brayden. We will miss you Roy.— Ryan Howard (@ryanhoward) November 7, 2017
The first cutter I ever saw was out of the hands of Roy Halladay. One of the best to do it. My condolences to his family.Lord be with them— andrew mccutchen (@TheCUTCH22) November 7, 2017
Roy Halladay was your favorite player's favorite player. A true ace and a wonderful person. Heartbroken for those who knew him best.— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) November 7, 2017
Devastated by the tragic loss of Roy Halladay. Best, most consistent pitcher ever. Tremendous teammate. Loving father. Great person. Prayers— Raúl Ibañez (@RaulIbanezMLB) November 7, 2017
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My heart hurts writing this. I can still remember the first day we met. It was 5:45am on the first day of spring training when I arrived. He was finishing his breakfast but his clothes were soaking wet. I asked if it was raining when he got in. He laughed and said “No I just finished my workout” I knew right then- he was the real deal. Thank you Roy for allowing us to witness what it takes to be the best. We will all miss you.