PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay died in a small plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday afternoon. He was 40.
Investigators say Halladay was flying the ICON A5, a light sport aircraft, around 1 p.m., when he crashed in the Gulf of Mexico, about 10 miles west of St. Petersburg, Florida.
“We know Roy as a person, as a caring husband who loved his wife, Brandy, who loved his two boys tremendously,” said Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco.
The sheriff’s office says Halladay was the only occupant and the only person killed in the crash.
It’s unclear what led to his plane going down and investigators say there was no mayday call from Halladay.
The National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash.
Nocco called Halladay one of the “most humble beings you would ever meet.”
“He was one in a million. It is a true loss for us. I have no doubt he is looking down with God up in heaven because his heart is a heart of gold and he was an unbelievable human being,” said Nocco.
Halladay, an avid flier, previously posted pictures and videos of himself flying his new ICON A5 light-sport aircraft on his Twitter account.
In an article from the plane’s manufacturer, Halladay said he always dreamed of being a pilot, but was only able to become one when he retired from baseball.
The Philadelphia Phillies said in a statement the organization is “numb” following the news of Halladay’s death.
“We are numb over the very tragic news about Roy Halladay’s untimely death. There are no words to describe the sadness that the entire Phillies family is feeling over the loss of one of the most respected human beings to ever play the game. It is with the heaviest of hearts that we pass along our condolences to Brandy, Ryan and Braden,” the Phillies said.
Former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Halladay was the “best competitor I’d ever seen.”
“He was not only a great pitcher, but also a great person and a tremendous father. His contributions to the Phillies can’t be measured. Roy was like a brother to me and we remained close after his playing days. I’m heartbroken for Brandy and the boys,” said Manuel,
Former teammate Chase Utley said he was “blessed” to play with Halladay.
“You are gone too soon, my friend. I was blessed to have shared the field with you as a teammate, competitor, friend and more importantly, brother. Praying for Brandy and the boys, my Ohana and I will do all we can for them in this tragic time. I love you, bro,” said Utley.
Phillies chairman Dave Montgomery called Halladay an “All-Star pitcher, All-Star person, All-Star father and family man we lost today.”
Former Phillies pitcher and teammate Cole Hamels said that Halladay “set the bar.”
“He’s a tremendous person who’s going to be missed. He left such an impression, not only to me, but to a lot of us,” said Hamels.
“We are saddened by the tragic news that Roy Halladay, 2-time Cy Young Award winner & 8-time All-Star, has died in a plane crash,” MLB said in a statement.
Phillies fans were stunned by Halladay’s sudden passing.
“He was one of my top three all-time favorite baseball players,” said one fan.
Halladay is a former eight-time All-Star pitcher for the Blue Jays (1998-2009) and the Phillies (2010-2013). He won the Cy Young Award in 2003 and 2010.
Halladay also pitched a perfect game against the Marlins during the regular season and a no-hitter in the NLDS against the Reds in 2010.
Halladay retired from baseball in 2013.
He is survived by his two sons, Ryan and Braden, and his wife, Brandy.