Roy Halladay, the Toronto Blue Jays icon who won two Cy Young Awards and was an eight-time all-star in a Hall of Fame calibre career, was killed Tuesday when his amphibious light-sport aircraft crashed into the Gulf of Mexico 10 miles from St. Petersburg, Fla., according to Pacso Sheriff Chris Nocco. He was 40.
The specifics of the crash are still under investigation, Nocco told a news conference.
At 1:36 p.m. ET the Pasco Sheriff office tweeted that its water response and marine unit was responding to a report of a downed plane, and later updated that one body had been found and that no survivors had been confirmed.
Roughly two hours later, CBS Tampa 10News WTSP reported that the aircraft, an Icon A5, was registered to Halladay, whose Twitter account contains several photos of himself flying the plane.
“The worst case scenario happened and it breaks our hearts,” Nocco said.
Another former Blue Jays pitcher, Cory Lidle, was killed in an Oct. 11, 2006 plane crash, when the single-engine plane Cirrus SR20 he was piloting crashed into a 50-storey building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He was 34.
Halladay took a training course for the A5 in May 2016, tweeting out updates on his progress along the way.
On Oct. 13, he tweeted that he owned his very own A5, and posted several pictures of his trips in it.
Halladay was among the most popular players in Blue Jays history, a 17th-overall pick in 1995 who lost a no-hit bid with two outs in the ninth inning of his second career start in 1998, was sent back to single-A Dunedin in 2001 to completely rebuild himself, and then returned to dominate for a decade.
In 2003, Halladay won a club-record 22 games en route to his first Cy Young Award and was the backbone of the franchise through the first decade of the 2000s as the Blue Jays unsuccessfully tried to catch the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in the American League East.
His trade to the Philadelphia Phillies in December 2009 was a gutting moment for the organization, with fans largely siding with Halladay for demanding a trade away from a team on the verge of a rebuild.
With the Phillies his brilliance continued, winning 21 games en route to his second Cy Young Award, a season that included the 20th perfect game in big-league history, on May 29, 2010. For good measure, he added a post-season no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS that year.
After shoulder and back troubles marred his 2013 season, he signed with the Blue Jays in December so he could retire with the team he began his career with.
“Speaking with doctors, they feel like at this point, if I can step away and take some of that high‑level pressure off of it, it will hopefully allow me to do some regular things and help out with the kids’ [baseball] teams,” he said that day. “I want to be active. I want to continue to do things I enjoy doing, spend time with my family.”