HOLIDAY, Fla. (AP) — Roy Halladay, a two-time Cy Young Award winner who pitched a perfect game and a playoff no-hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies, died Tuesday when his private plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He was 40.
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said during a news conference that Halladay’s ICON A5 went down around noon off the coast of Florida. The sheriff’s office marine unit responded and discovered Halladay’s body in shallow water near some mangroves. No survivors were found.
Police said they couldn’t confirm if there were additional passengers on the plane or say where it was headed. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.
Halladay, who retired after the 2013 season, was an amateur pilot who often posted on social media about small planes . His father was a corporate pilot.
“I have dreamed about owning a A5 since I retired! Real life is better then my dreams!!” Halladay tweeted on Oct. 13.
ICON aircraft had posted a video with Halladay trying out a new plane. The video showed Halladay taking delivery of a new ICON A5, a two-seat “light-sport aircraft” that can land on water.
In the video, Halladay said the terms of his baseball contract prevented him from having a pilot’s license while playing, and that his wife was originally against the idea of him getting the aircraft.
“She’s fought me the whole way,” Halladay said.
“Hard. I fought hard. I was very against it,” Brandy Halladay said in the same video, before explaining why she eventually understood and approved of her husband’s desire to have the plane.
Halladay spent 12 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays followed by four seasons with the Phillies.
He was 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA and an eight-time All-Star.
“Such a sad day,” former Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard tweeted. “We lost a great ball player but an even better human being.”
Other baseball players to die in plane crashes included Pittsburgh Pirates star Roberto Clemente traveling to earthquake victims in Nicaragua on New Year’s Eve in 1972; New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson piloting his own plane near his home in Canton, Ohio, in 1979; and Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle piloting his own plane in New York City in 2006.