The unexpected death of Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández left the nation reeling in shock. The 24-year-old, who was widely considered one of the most talented and brightest stars in Major League Baseball, lost his life in a tragic boating accident off the coast of Miami.
“It is with the deepest sorrow that I, together with my family and the entire Marlins organization, mourn the tragic loss of Jose. Sadly, the brightest lights are often the ones that extinguish the fastest,” said Marlins President David Samson. “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.”
The Marlins ace had already won 16 games this season, striking out 253 batters. He also overcame Tommy John surgery in 2014, coming back in winning form by striking out 11 batters in nine of his 29 starts this season.
Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. issued the following statement regarding the passing of Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández: pic.twitter.com/i0AYqg5zEq— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) September 25, 2016
Named an All-Star player in both 2013 and 2016, Fernández escaped from Cuba by boat on his fourth try as a teenager. During the harrowing journey at the age of 15, Fernandez risked his life by heroically jumping in the ocean to rescue a drowning woman, who turned out to be his own mother.
He was also the first pitcher in the modern era to win his first 17 career home decisions.
From Fernández to college basketball star Hank Gathers, learn about some of the other professional athletes who lost their lives unexpectedly and way too early, in the video above.