Tampa Bay Rays bullpen catcher and former minor league player Jean Ramirez died Tuesday at age 28.
His team confirmed the news but did not provide any further details.
"Jean was an incredible teammate and friend," Rays Manager Kevin Cash said in a statement. "He brought so much passion and energy each day to our clubhouse and bullpen, and his love for the Rays and baseball was evident to all who interacted with him. He had the biggest heart and most infectious smile. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Jean will be deeply missed."
A 28th-round draft pick out of Illinois State in 2016, Ramirez spent three seasons in the Rays' minor league system. In 2019, he went on to become the team's bullpen catcher. The native of Puerto Rico played high school ball in Fort Worth, Texas. He attended college at Arkansas then transferred to Illinois State, according to USA Today.
"We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to Jean's family," Rays Baseball Operations President Erik Neander said in a statement. "He was a caring teammate and friend. He exuded so much joy in all he did, and his kind heart was truly a gift to all. As we process this unexpected and difficult loss, we are grateful for the times we shared with Jean."
Ramirez previously said that playing with the Rays during the 2020 World Series was "the best moment" of his life, according to WTSP in Tampa Bay.
"It’s awesome," he said. "I don’t really know how many words I can put together to explain what this feeling is like. Me being from around the area, people have been reaching out, saying how proud they are and how exciting of a moment this is, and I completely agree. This is the best moment of my life."
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