HOLIDAY, Fla. -- 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.
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.
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."
Halladay was nominated several times for the Roberto Clemente Award, given by Major League Baseball to players for sportsmanship and community involvement. The Halladay Family Foundation has aided children's charities, hunger relief and animal rescue.
A 6-foot-6 right-hander, Halladay was a throwback on the mound. Durable and determined to finish what he started, Halladay won the AL Cy Young in 2003 after going 22-7 and the NL prize in 2010 after going 21-10.
"You know, if my career's two years, three years shorter than it could have been because I wanted to go out and pitch deep into games, I'm fine with that," he said in a retirement news conference.
In 2011, Halladay was part of the "Four Aces" rotation in Philadelphia with former Arkansas Razorback Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt. Halladay and the Phillies lost 1-0 to St. Louis in the deciding Game 5 of the NL Division Series.
"To the world, Roy was one of the best pitchers in baseball, but to me, he was an inspiration, a great mentor, teammate, and most important, a friend," said Hamels, now with the Texas Rangers. "His preparation and work ethic has and will forever be ingrained in me. Roy was a man of few words, but he lit up when his boys were around. His family and this game were everything to him, and there will never be a day in my own life that I won't miss him."
Halladay was an old-style workhorse who pitched 67 complete games and 20 shutouts. A three-time 20-game winner, he was with Toronto (1998-2009) and Philadelphia (2010-13).
In his second big league start, he held Detroit hitless for 8 2/3 innings.
Halladay pitched a perfect game for the Phillies at the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010. That Oct. 6, against Cincinnati in the NL Division Series, he became only the second pitcher to throw a postseason no-hitter, joining Don Larsen, who accomplished the feat for the New York Yankees in the 1956 World Series.
Halladay is eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2019.
"Absolutely I would love to be there," he said during spring training this year, when he was a guest instructor for the Phillies. "I think every player who ever played the game would love to be there. It would be a tremendous honor."
In a statement, the Blue Jays said the organization "is overcome by grief with the tragic loss of one the franchise's greatest and most respected players, but even better human being. Impossible to express what he has meant to this franchise, the city and its fans."
"I wanted to be Roy Halladay. I'm heartbroken, rest easy Doc ," tweeted former pitcher Dan Haren, who posted a photo of a signed Halladay jersey.
Career statistics for former major league pitcher Roy Halladay.
*Cy Young Award winner
Sports on 11/08/2017
Print Headline: Roy Halladay dies in Gulf plane crash