ATLANTA - Several hundred turned out for a public memorial service Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a weekend boat crash along with two friends.
Fans gathered along the west side of Marlins Park for the departure of a funeral motorcade Wednesday afternoon, many wearing his No. 16 jersey.
A public viewing will be held at St. Brendan's Catholic Church from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. A private funeral Mass will be held Thursday for family and Marlins players and personnel.
Instead of flowers, the Fernandez family asks for charitable contributions to the JDF16 Foundation, which is online at MiamiFoundation.org/jdf16.
Fernandez was an ace right-hander for the Miami Marlins who escaped Cuba to become one of baseball's brightest stars. He was killed in a boating accident early Sunday morning. Fernandez was 24.
Authorities in Florida say Fernandez was not wearing a life vest when he was killed in a boating crash off Miami Beach early Sunday. An official from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told reporters that Fernandez was with two friends when the 32-foot SeaVee that they were traveling in hit rocks and capsized during a boating trip.
Lorenzo Veloz of the fish commission said the boat was found upside down. Two bodies were found under the vessel and one was found in the water by divers.The boat was traveling full speed and was demolished. There was no evidence of alcohol or illegal substances being a factor in the crash.
Chief Petty Officer Nyxolyno Cangemi told The Associated Press that a Coast Guard patrol boat spotted an overturned boat at 3:30 a.m. on a jetty near Government Cut. The bodies were discovered a short time later.
Statement from the Miami Marlins organization: pic.twitter.com/6A4Rv6m2g9— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) September 25, 2016
Because the boat was on a jetty, the Coast Guard notified Miami-Dade police, which turned the investigation over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Fernandez was on a 32-foot vessel that had a "severe impact" with a jetty, said FWC's Lorenzo Veloz.
"We are stunned and devastated," Major League Baseball said in a statement.
City of Miami Fire-Rescue workers were seen carrying bodies, draped and on stretchers, at the Coast Guard station after sunrise Sunday. The names of the other two individuals are being withheld pending notification of relatives, the Coast Guard said.
Fernandez was a two-time All-Star who went 38-17 in his four seasons with the Marlins, winning the NL's Rookie of the Year award in 2013. The native of Santa Clara, Cuba became a U.S. citizen last year and was enormously popular in Miami.
He tried to defect from Cuba at least three times -- landing in jail after one of those unsuccessful tries -- before eventually getting to the U.S. and going to high school in Tampa, Florida. The Marlins drafted him in 2011 and Fernandez was in the majors two years later.
"I'm still in shock," former Marlins player Gaby Sanchez said on Twitter. "The world has lost a remarkable person. You will be missed and my heart goes out to the Fernandez family."
The Marlins' game Sunday at home against the Atlanta Braves has been canceled.
The Atlanta Braves organization issued the following statement on the death of Jose Fernandez.
“The Atlanta Braves organization sends our deepest condolences to the family of Jose Fernandez and to the Miami Marlins organization.”
Fernandez had recently announced via Instagram that he and his girlfriend were expecting a baby.