A former pro baseball player who helped lead his team to a World Series win 14 years ago has died at the age of 45.
According to a family statement, retired MLB shortstop Julio Lugo died on Monday following an apparent heart attack.
Seven teams over 12 MLB seasons
Lugo was best known for his role in the 2007 World Series, which resulted in the Boston Red Sox defeating the Colorado Rockies.
The news was first reported by ESPN’s Enrique Rojas, who tweeted that he received confirmation directly from Lugo’s family. His death reportedly came just a day prior to his 46th birthday.
As Sports Illustrated reported, Lugo was an MLB star who played for seven teams during 12 seasons in the league.
He was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. The Houston Astros initially acquired him in the 1994 MLB draft and after he played several seasons in the minor leagues, he made his big-league debut in 2000.
After Lugo was dropped by the Astros, he went on to play for the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers before settling in with the Red Sox for several seasons.
Days after another retired player’s unexpected death
His career went on to include stints with the St. Louis Cardinals and Baltimore Orioles. He retired following the 2011 season, during which he played for the Atlanta Braves.
TMZ weighed in on his untimely death, noting that both the Red Sox and Rays quickly released a statement of condolences.
Although early reports cited a suspected heart attack, there have been few additional details reported regarding the nature of his death.
The sad news came just days after another former MLB player also died at the same age. Reports indicated that Pedro Feliciano, who had been a relief pitcher for the New York Mets, died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 45.
As is often the case with developing stories, the update led to widespread conspiracy theories on social media attempting to link the two deaths. Absent any verifiable evidence to the contrary, however, it appears that these two tragic events were simply cases of one-time elite athletes who died far too young.