Marlins pitching ace Jose Fernandez dies in boating accident

Miami Marlins' Jose Fernandez pitches against the Washington Nationals in the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

MIAMI (AP) – The Miami Marlins have announced the death of ace right-hander Jose Fernandez.

The U.S. Coast Guard says 24-year-old Fernandez was one of three people killed in a boat crash off Miami Beach early Sunday.

In the statement, the Marlins say they are “devastated by the tragic loss of José Fernández. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time.”

The Marlins’ game Sunday at home against the Atlanta Braves has been canceled.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred called Fernandez one of baseball’s “great young stars” who made a dramatic impact on and off the field since his debut in 2013.

Manfred said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, the Miami Marlins organization and all of the people he touched in his life.”

Miami Marlins players gathered at the team’s ballpark to grieve together following the death of teammate Jose Fernandez.

“A lot of words were said, meaningful words and emotion and prayer,” Marlins president David Samson said. “Jose is a member of this family for all time.”

Samson spoke at a news conference, surrounded by more than two dozen players wearing Marlins jerseys – the black ones.

Manager Don Mattingly and president of baseball operations Michael Hill flanked Samson and fought back tears.

“‘When I think about Jose, it’s going to be thinking about a little kid,” Mattingly said. “I see such a little boy in him … the way he played. … Kids play Little League, that’s the joy Jose played with.”

The Marlins’ game Sunday against Atlanta was canceled. Their home game Monday night against the New York Mets will be played as scheduled, the team said.

“Deep in our hearts there is a lot of pain,” third baseman Martin Prado said. “Somehow we’ve got to overcome that.”

Investigators continue their work at a boat overturned on a jetty, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, off Miami Beach, Fla. Authorities said that Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez was one of three people killed in the boat crash early Sunday morning. Fernandez was 24. (AP Photo/Gaston De Cardenas)
Investigators continue their work at a boat overturned on a jetty, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, off Miami Beach, Fla. Authorities said that Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez was one of three people killed in the boat crash early Sunday morning. (AP Photo/Gaston De Cardenas)
Authorities in Florida Fernandez was not wearing a life vest.

An official from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told reporters that Fernandez was with two friends when the 32-foot SeaVee that they were traveling in hit rocks and capsized during a boating trip.

Lorenzo Veloz of the fish commission said the boat was found upside down. Two bodies were found under the vessel and one was found in the water by divers.

The boat was traveling full speed and was demolished. There was no evidence of alcohol or illegal substances being a factor in the crash.

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