Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez killed in boating accident

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MIAMI — The Miami Marlins have announced the death of ace right-hander Jose Fernandez.

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

Authorities in Florida told CNN that Fernandez and two other men were found dead after their 32-foot boat was found crashed near Miami Beach. The boat was found around 3:15 a.m. Sunday.

Fish and Wildlife Commission public information officer Lorenzo Veloz said the boat did not belong to Fernandez but the driver of the boat had been stopped before for safety inspections. Fernandez and the two other men were not wearing life vests, according to officials. Fernandez was not driving the boat.

The boat sustained severe damage in the Sunday morning crash and alcohol and illicit drugs were not involved in the incident, Veloz said.

The names of the other two men are being withheld until relatives are notified.

"He was pillar to our community, he was involved in everything that he could be to give back," Veloz said. "I had the experience of talking to him several times, down-to-earth, great person ... I'm sorry I'm getting goosebumps right now, it's really hitting home and it's horrible."

The Marlins did not immediately release details, other than releasing a statement confirming the death of one of the top pitchers in baseball.

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 cancelled.

Fernandez was 24. He was born in Cuba and defected to the U.S. when he was 15, as reported by CNN. He went on to become the Marlins' star pitcher and was named National League Rookie of the Year 2013 and a two-time All-Star.

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