Former MLB all-star Roy Halladay died Tuesday after a single-engine plane he was flying crashed off the coast of West Central Florida. Halladay, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, was 40.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of this amazing and generous individual,” the Pasco County, Fla., sheriff’s office posted to Twitter during a news conference late Tuesday afternoon. “Our hearts go out to Roy and his family.”
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.
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.