Former MLB Pitcher Roy Halladay Dies After His Icon A5 Crashes Off the Florida Coast

The 40-year-old ex-ballplayer was a licensed pilot with an apparent love for the sky.

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died Tuesday at the age of 40, according to police, after the Icon A5 light aircraft he was flying crashed in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast. 

The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of a small airplane crash around approximately 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, according to local news station WISTV. Authorities said the water was approximately six to seven feet deep where the plane went down. 

The sheriff’s office could not confirm whether or not Halladay had filed a flight plan, according to Sports Illustrated. A flight plan is not required for non-commercial aircraft following visual flight rules. 

Halladay pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies during his Major League Baseball career, which stretched from 1998 to 2013. During his time in the majors, he racked up two Cy Young Awards, earned a 3.38 ERA overall, and pitched the 20th perfect game in MLB history against the Florida Marlins in 2010.

The Phillies and Blue Jays both posted condolences on their respective Twitter accounts. 

Halladay was a licensed pilot whose love of flying was apparent in his social media accounts; his Twitter profile photo featured him behind the yoke, and his account has been saturated with pictures and video of and from his plane. 

The Icon A5, which reached production in 2014, is designed to be easier to fly than conventional aircraft, and is aimed at more at the recreational vehicle market, coming equipped with folding wings and an automotive-inspired two-person interior. An amphibious aircraft equipped with a 100-horsepower engine driving a pusher propeller, the Icon can safely land on both water or dry ground; it’s equipped with numerous safety features, including a wing design specifically engineered to make it difficult to fall into a spin and a parachute designed to lower the entire craft to the ground in an emergency.

Icon A5 aircraft have been involved in two accidents in 2017. Both occupants walked away uninjured from the first, which also occurred in Florida; the second, which occurred in Napa Valley, California, resulted in the deaths of two Icon employees aboard at the time, including the project’s lead engineer. The National Transportation Safety Board found no fault with the aircraft in the crash.

According to Icon, Halladay received the first A5 of the 2018 model year last month. Previously, Halladay had rented Icon aircraft on multiple occasions, the company said in a press release issued at the time.

Halladay is survived by his wife, Brandy, and his two children.