Former MLB pitcher Roy Halladay killed in plane crash in Gulf of Mexico

By Josh Rojas, Digital Media Producers, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 07, 2017, 5:20 PM EST

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay was killed Tuesday in a small plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico off Pasco County, the Sheriff's Office confirmed.

Halladay, 40, won 203 games in his 16-year career, losing 105, and he won the Cy Young Award in 2003 with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Pasco Sheriff's Office Marine Unit responded to the small aircraft down in the Gulf, north of Bailey's Bluff in Holiday.

Sheriff Chris Nocco said the plane was an ICON A-5, single-engine plane. The Sheriff's Office said it received the call just after noon Tuesday.  

Halladay was the only person on the plane, Nocco said.

A resident called authorities about the plane crash.

Nocco said Halladay was a friend to the Sheriff's Office and called him "one in a million" and "down to earth." He asked residents to respect the family's privacy and stay away from the home.

"He loved to fly," Nocco said of Halladay. "He loved talking about baseball, he loved talking about flying. He was one of the nicest human beings."

Witnesses described the plane flying low.

"From my house to the top of the trees, (the plane) went past a little ways over the trees, hung a left and then tilted to the left into the water," Michael Lennon said.

Leslie Southard said smoke was coming from the engine.

"(It was) flying really low, and you could just tell it was going down," she said of the plane.

Marcie Delgado launched her kayak after hearing what happened.

"There were a lot of boats there, way before I was. So, I hope that they were able to help people," Delgado said.

Halladay made his Major League debut in 1998 with Toronto at the age of 21.

He was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies' National League East-winning teams in 2010 and 2011, throwing a no-hitter in the 2010 playoffs against the Cincinnati Reds.

In a prepared statement, the Phillies said: "We are numb over the very tragic news about Roy Halladay's untimely death. It is with the heaviest of hearts that we pass along our condolences to Brandy, Ryan and Braden."

Halladay went 3-2 with a 2.37 ERA in five postseason starts. He retired after the 2013 season.

He was drafted by the Blue Jays in 1995 and was from Denver, Colorado.

Three times, he won at least 20 games in a season, and he also had a 19-win campaign as well.

The Blue Jays hold spring training each year in Dunedin. The Phillies train in Clearwater.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit responded to a small aircraft down Tuesday afternoon in the Gulf of Mexico north of Bailey's Bluff in Holiday. (Josh Rojas, staff)