Miami Marlins star Jose Fernandez, one of the most dominant pitchers in professional baseball, was killed in a boating crash early on Sunday in Florida, the U.S. Coast Guard said. He was 24 years old.
Fernandez was one of three men killed when the 32-foot boat collided with a rocky jetty off of Miami Beach, the Coast Guard said. The identities of the two other crash victims were not released.
"All of baseball is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez," Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "He was one of our game's young stars who made a dramatic impact on and off the field."
Emergency crews responded to reports of an boat overturned on a jetty near the Government Cut shipping channel and South Pointe Park at about 3:30 a.m. local time (0730 GMT), the Coast Guard said.
The bodies of three deceased men between the ages of 24 and 27, including Fernandez, were found on and underneath the boat, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Lorenzo Veloz said at a news conference. The agency is investigating the cause of the incident.
The speed at which the boat was traveling was believed to have played a role in the crash, but alcohol and drugs were not considered to be a factor, Veloz said.
Fernandez, who was born and raised in Cuba, unsuccessfully attempted to defect to the United States three times before arriving in the country at age 15.
The right-hander was drafted in the first round by the Marlins in 2011 and went on to win an All-Star and the National League Rookie of the Year award two years later.
The Marlins canceled its game against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday due to the death of Fernandez.
"The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the loss of Jose Fernandez," the Major League Baseball team said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time."