Landy Faedo was out of town hunting when he got the news.
He hoped it wasn't true. The Alonso baseball coach texted his former star pitcher Jose Fernandez and didn't get a reply.
He always got a reply.
Sadly, Faedo discovered Fernandez had been killed in a boating accident.
Before he was a Florida Marlin, Fernandez was an Alonso Raven. He honed his baseball skills on the high school mound, where his talent was evident and where he is being mourned following his tragic death.
The mound is where Fernandez felt at home. Even more than 300 miles from the home he'd fled, the baseball field was always home.
"I don't know if it was just here, probably any baseball field," Faedo said. "He was just someone that loves baseball so much, just loved being on the field and working and getting better, just passionate about being here."
Alonso High School became Fernandez's new home after he escaped Cuba in 2008. He quickly assimilated himself to his new surroundings through baseball. Fernandez dominated on the mound, helping Alonso win two state titles. The Florida Marlins recognized his talent, making him their first round pick in 2011.
"I knew he was special," Faedo said. "Just watching him out here first time he was playing catch and I remember telling my assistant coach that guy is probably going to be a first-round pick."
But what set Fernandez apart was more than his talented right arm. It was the passion he had for the game and life.
"He's 10-feet tall, just bigger than life, just real passionate about everything he does," Faedo said. "Big heart, just always good to be around. Everybody got along with him. He was just everybody's friend. Just brought everybody up. If you were down, he was the first guy tapping you in the back, you know, get you going."
Added Marlins manager Don Mattingly "When you watch kids play Little League or something like that, that's the joy that Jose played with and the passion he felt about playing."
There are a lot of tears being shed over the loss of such a bright light. What deepens the grief is the twisted irony. Fernandez came to this country on a boat to begin a new life. His life tragically ended at the age of 24 on a boat.
"They are going to remember him. They'll remember him how much life he brings to baseball," Faedo said. "You can just see him on the big stage there in the MLB. People would talk about him all the time and how he's out there a man playing a boy's game but like having that boy attitude.
"Just going out there having fun and doing his best."