Major League Baseball star Jose Fernandez has died at the age of 24 in a boat accident in Florida.
The Miami Marlins pitcher was one of the three victims of the accident that took place off Miami Beach on 25 September, according to a statement published on MLB's official site.
Being an avid fisherman, Fernandez had been to the beach on Sunday on his friend's boat. The Coast Guard revealed the MLB star was not wearing a life vest at the time of crash.
Fernandez was born in Cuba and escaped from the country to Florida by boat in his fourth attempt in 2007. The pitcher made his debut for the Marlins in 2013 and went on to win the NL Rookie of the Year. He was also a two-time All-Star in his four-year big league career. He became a citizen of the United States in 2015.
The match between the right-hander's side and Braves at Marlins Park, which was scheduled for Sunday, was cancelled. At the stadium, fans paid their tributes to Fernandez by leaving flowers and his pictures. The grounds crew inscribed No. 16 on the back of the mound and placed a cap above it, and the center-field scoreboard simply read: "16 Jose Fernandez."
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said he was deeply saddened by the news and that Fernandez's memory will endure in the team. His teammates and the coach of the side attended a news conference on Sunday in black jerseys.
"It is with the deepest sorrow that I, together with my family and the entire Marlins organization, mourn the tragic loss of Jose," Loria was quoted as saying in the statement.
"Sadly, the brightest lights are often the ones that extinguish the fastest. Jose left us far too soon, but his memory will endure in all of us. At this difficult time, our prayers are with his mother, grandmother, family and friends."
Notably, Fernandez had posted a photo of himself with his pregnant girlfriend on Instagram days before his tragic death.