Jose Fernandez, the ace right-hander for the Miami Marlins who escaped Cuba,was killed Sunday in a boating accident. He was 24 years old.
"Some people want a hug, some people want to tell stories, some people want to cry, some want to laugh, you let people, there's stages of grieving, right? You let people go through that and you just offer support," said Marlins President David Samson.
Tons of support has been raining in from grieving players, including Marlins Pitcher Mike Dunn holding Jose's jersey. Outside of Marlins Park, fans have been dropping flowers in tribute to Fernandez.
"You know, surreal, and we felt the right thing to do was to pay our respects even though we don't have tickets today," said Andrew Corman, Marlins fan.
12-year-old Kelsi Figueroa is hanging on to the memory of meeting her baseball hero.
"It's super sad, it's a tragedy that he died," Figueroa said. "It was an experience that is always gonna be in me, he was a great player."
Authorities said Fernandez was one of three people killed in a boat crash off Miami Beach.
"It's very sad, that's the first thing I saw this morning when I turned on the TV and it's devastating," Franlix Arenal, fan, said.
Marlins fan Steven Fleischer said him and his wife were in complete shock and that that loved watching the love and enthusiasm Fernandez played with.
Fernandez came to America as a teenager, gaining fame for his story of defecting from Cuba with his mother and other family members looking for a better life. After a star studded high school career in Tampa, the Marlins selected him in the first round of the 2011 Draft.
"I mean, it feels like we lost a family member, that's what it feels like, he was the life of this team and the reason why most of us came here every day," said Marlins fan Felipe Zwanger.
Devastation and loss are the themes you hear from fans today, echoed powerfully by this broken team.
"I don't know if there's words to express how I feel, it's a tremendous loss, and my heart goes out to his family..." said Mike Hill, General Manager, while weeping.
Marlins President David Samson noted that Fernandez is representative of a story of hope, love, faith and "no one will ever let that story die."
Story courtesy of our news partners at NBCMiami.com.