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Roy Halladay, the former MLB pitching star and two-time Cy Young winner, has died after his plane crashed Tuesday afternoon into the Gulf of Mexico. He was 40 years old.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office in Florida confirmed during a news conference Tuesday that Halladay died in the crash, which happened around 12 p.m. ET near Ben Pilot Point, which is north of Clearwater. Initial reports said one person died in the crash but the victim wasn’t identified until the sheriff’s office confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco didn’t immediately know what led to the accident. There was no mayday call, Nocco said. He said Halladay’s body was found near the plane. A full investigation will follow.
“Many know Roy as a Cy Young pitcher, a future hall of famer. One of the best pitchers ever in the game of baseball,” Nocco said. “We know Roy as a person. As a caring husband who loved his wife Brandy. Who loved his two boys tremendously. He coached our baseball teams. To Brandy, the boys and the whole family, we are so sad for your loss. We are praying for you. We know how much he means to you. And I can tell you from the bottom of our hearts, we know much you all meant to him.”
After he retired from baseball in 2013, Halladay got his pilot’s license. His father was a corporate pilot, so Halladay had grown up around planes and had flying in his blood. Last month, he announced on Twitter that he’d bought the Icon A5 plane that was involved in the accident. Since buying the plane, he’d posted videos of himself in it on his Twitter:
Halladay played 16 seasons in the big leagues, 12 with the Toronto Blue Jays and then his final four with the Philadelphia Phillies. He won 203 games with a 3.38 ERA and won the Cy Young in 2003 and 2010. He’ll be eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019 and stands a good chance at being elected.
Halladay’s career was full of great moments, but there’s no doubt about the one for which he’ll be best remembered: Oct. 6, 2010, when he threw a no-hitter for the Phillies in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds. It’s one of only two no-hitters in MLB postseason history.
Here are statements from the Phillies and Blue Jays on Halladay’s death:
Nocco said he and Halladay knew each other well. “He is one of the nicest human beings. I know a lot of times people talk about sports athletes, Roy was the most down to earth person,” Nocco said. “If you dropped something he’d be the first one to bend down and pick it up. Except for the fact that he was 6-foot-6, you would’ve never have guessed he was a professional athlete. He was a fine human being.”
After retirement, Halladay also devoted his life to his children. He and his wife Brandy have two sons, Ryan and Braden. Halladay was the pitching coach for Braden’s high-school team at Calvary Christian in Florida. He was also involved with Ryan’s 13-and-under team.
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More Roy Halladay coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• Baseball world reacts to Halladay’s tragic death
• Sports world rocked again by plane crash death
• 5 moments that made us love Roy Halladay
• Halladay’s plane, the ICON A5, was a ‘Jet Ski with wings’