Tigers minor leaguer Chace Numata, a catcher for Double-A affiliate Erie SeaWolves, died at age 27 on Monday from injuries sustained in a skateboarding accident, the team announced.
Numata, who was in his 10th season in the minors, was hospitalized on Friday after being found by police while bleeding from his head on the street, according to Tim Hahn of GoErie.com.
Surveillance video from the area showed Numata riding a motorized skateboard down the street when he fell, and according to the police, no other vehicles were involved in the accident.
Numata, who signed a minor-league deal with the Tigers last year, played for Detroit's Double A and Triple A affiliates this season.
"Though this was his first year with our organization, Chace was beloved by many from our Major League club through all levels of our player development system," the Tigers said in a statement. "He had an engaging personality that quickly established him as a leader on and off the field, and his presence will be forever remembered in our organization and beyond."
The Phillies, who drafted Numata in 2010, also released a statement.
In a statement, Numata's family thanked "everyone who prayed for, thought of, and acknowledged Chace during this difficult time."
"It is with deep sorrow that the Numata Ohana announces that Chace Kekoa Kenji Numata, our beloved son, brother, and a friend to all, has passed away on September 2nd, 2019. Chace was a 27 year old, switch-hitting catcher from Pearl City, Hawaii that was blessed with the opportunity to professionally play the sport he loved for the Phillies, Yankees, and Tigers organizations for over ten seasons. Everyone who was around Chace knew there was never a stranger in the room when he was there. It didn't matter if you were a professional athlete or young child, he made sure to make everyone feel comfortable and welcomed. His smile was contagious, unrelenting, and never ending, while his personality could light up any environment he would be in. Our family would like to say Mahalo nui loa to everyone who prayed for, thought of, and acknowledged Chace during this difficult time. We heard you and we appreciate you all from the bottom of our hearts!"
SeaWolves owner Fernando Aguirre said the team was "heartbroken" by the catcher's death.
"The Erie SeaWolves are heartbroken and deeply saddened by the passing of Chace Numata," Aguirre said. "Chace was a leader, an outstanding teammate, a friend to many, and his personality was positive and infectious. He made everyone he met feel welcome, and he had a very positive impact throughout the SeaWolves organization and the Erie community. We extend our sympathies to the Numata Ohana and have them in our thoughts and prayers. RIP Chace."