Tampa Bay Rays bullpen catcher Jean Ramirez died by suicide; 'Suffering in silence is not OK,' family says

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This story contains discussion of suicide. If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Tampa Bay Rays bullpen catcher Jean Ramirez died by suicide this week, according to the Tarrant County (Texas) Medical Examiner's Office.

Ramirez, 28, died Monday near Fort Worth, where he attended high school. Ramirez played three minor-league seasons for the Rays and served as their bullpen catcher since 2019. He aspired to a coaching job in the major leagues.

Rays manager Kevin Cash called Ramirez an "incredible teammate and friend," in a statement released by the team. “He brought so much passion and energy each day to our clubhouse and bullpen, and his love for the Rays and baseball was evident to all who interacted with him. He had the biggest heart and most infectious smile. Jean will be deeply missed.”

Ramirez died Monday afternoon of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to a preliminary autopsy report from Tarrant County obtained by USA TODAY Sports.

Ramirez's family released a statement to the team, per the Tampa Bay Times, saying that "suffering in silence is not OK."

“The loss of our son has been the most excruciating experience we have lived," they said. "Unfortunately, we sometimes don’t see the signs. Struggling in silence is not OK. It is our commitment to honor our son’s life by helping other families. No parent should have to endure the loss of their child.

"We are very grateful to the Tampa Bay Rays organization, whom we consider our family, for their love and support. Our son felt loved by all of you. Thank you to our family, friends and everyone else far and near for the outpouring of love and support."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rays bullpen catcher Jean Ramirez died by suicide,