Eight-time MLB All-Star and two-time Cy Young award winner Roy Halladay died Tuesday after his plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico, according to The Pasco County, Florida Sheriff’s Office.
The father and avid pilot was 40.
Halladay’s ICON A5 light sport aircraft wrecked 10 miles west of St. Petersburg at about 1 p.m. on Tuesday. Speculation quickly traveled as the news of the plane’s tail number matched that of the famous pitcher’s.
Halladay pitched for 16 seasons in the major leagues, for both the Phillies and Blue Jays from 1998 to 2013. Both teams have expressed their grief over the loss of the well-respected player and friend.
The Pasco Country sheriff’s office confirmed Halladay’s death and referred to him as “a personal friend” and that he “meant a lot to the sheriff’s office.”
Halladay was an enthusiastic flyer, and less than a month ago, he was featured on Icon Aircraft’s website as the first person to receive the company’s 2018 A5 plane.
In his own words, Roy Halladay said this about flying:
“I’ve been dreaming about flying since I was a boy but was only able to become a pilot once I retired from baseball. I’ve owned other aircraft, but no aircraft embodies the adventure or captured the dream of flying like the A5. Not only is it the safest and easiest aircraft I’ve ever flown, it is hands-down the most fun. The beaches, lakes, and waterways my family and I get to explore around Florida are mind-blowing. Words don’t do justice to what the A5 allows us to experience. Even my wife, who used to be uncomfortable in small planes, now asks where we should take the A5 for the weekend. I’m honored to own the first A5 Founders Edition.”
The company has expressed their condolences to Halladay’s family.