UPDATE 1/22/2017 1:45 PM: This story was updated to include more detailed information about Ventura's accident and reaction from Royals fans.
Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura reportedly died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic Sunday.
Mike Swanson, the Vice President of Communication and Broadcasting for the Royals, confirmed the news of Ventura's death.
It is with a heavy and broken heart that we confirm the passing of Yordano Ventura. The club will release a statement soon. #RIPAce
— Mike Swanson (@Swanee54) January 22, 2017
The Associated Press reports that Yordano Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 northwest of Santo Domingo. It's not clear if Ventura was driving.
Ventura was 25-years-old. He made his debut with the Royals on Sept. 7, 2013 against the Cleveland Indians. He had 39 wins with the Royals.
As Royals fans learned of the devastating news, dozens of fans made their way to Kauffman Stadium to pay their tributes to Ventura.
“This organization really has a passion about its fanbase and the fanbase has a passion about the organization. So it’s really a family kind of thing so it’s just like we lost a brother today,” said Dave Darby.
Some fans brought flowers, others brought baseballs and hats thanking the 25-year-old pitcher for everything he had done.
“I’ve been cheering him on through thick and thin and I just wanted to come out and make sure we paid our respects,” said Sabrina Gray.
Around Kauffman stadium flags flew at half-staff. Inside, the Royals paid tribute to Ventura by putting his picture on the Crown Vision.
The Royals sent the following statement to 41 Action News:
The Kansas City Royals regretfully announce the passing of Yordano Ventura, who perished in a car accident last night in the Dominican Republic. There are no details available at this time regarding the accident that claimed the life of the 25-year old Ventura.
“Our prayers right now are with Yordano’s family as we mourn this young man’s passing,” said Dayton Moore, Royals’ Senior VP of Baseball Operations and General Manager. “He was so young and so talented, full of youthful exuberance and always brought a smile to everyone he interacted with. We will get through this as an organization, but right now is a time to mourn and celebrate the life of Yordano.”
Ventura spent his entire professional career in the Royals’ organization after signing as a non-drafted free agent in 2008 and debuting for the club on September 17, 2013. He pitched in two World Series (2014, 2015) with Kansas City, helping the franchise win their second World Series championship in 2015. He held a 38-31 career record in 94 games and 93 starts at the Major League level, while he also made nine postseason starts before the age of 25.