Longtime ESPN reporter Pedro Gomez died unexpectedly at his home Sunday afternoon, the company announced. He was 58 years old.
A renowned baseball reporter and familiar face on ESPN’s platforms for nearly two decades, Gomez covered more than 25 World Series over the course of his career and was widely respected throughout the sport.
“Pedro was far more than a media personality,” the Gomez family said in a statement provided by ESPN. “He was a Dad, loving husband, loyal friend, coach and mentor. He was our everything and his kids’ biggest believer.”
Gomez’s family said he died unexpectedly at their home Sunday afternoon. The cause of death was not immediately provided.
ESPN chairman James Pitaro said in a statement that the company was “shocked and saddened” by the news.
“Pedro was an elite journalist at the highest level and his professional accomplishments are universally recognized,” Pitaro said. ”More importantly, Pedro was a kind, dear friend to us all. Our hearts are with Pedro’s family and all who love him at this extraordinarily difficult time.”
The son of Cuban refugees, Gomez grew up in Miami and majored in journalism at the University of Miami. He got his start as a baseball reporter in newspapers, including stints at the Miami News, San Diego Union, San Jose Mercury News, Miami Herald and Sacramento Bee.
In 1997, Gomez became a sports columnist and national baseball writer at The Arizona Republic. He moved to ESPN in 2003.
Gomez was a versatile reporter for the network, often appearing as a correspondent on SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight, among other studio shows. He covered everything from Barry Bonds’ alleged steroid use to MLB’s return to Cuba in 2016 — the latter of which was also a deeply meaningful experience for Gomez, personally.
Gomez said on air that he brought the ashes of his late father and brother with him to Cuba, so he could sprinkle them there in accordance with their wishes.
“It was very emotional for me, because I know that it was their wishes to have them done,” Gomez told host Scott Van Pelt through tears. “I was very, very honored and happy and proud to be able to fulfill a wish that each of them had.”
News of Gomez’s death sparked a wave of tributes on social media, from colleagues and MLB players alike.
ESPN radio host and reporter Jorge Sedano wrote on Twitter that Gomez “opened the door for Latinos in sports tv.” Former SportsCenter anchor Jemele Hill called him ”one of the nicest and warmest people I ever encountered during my time at ESPN.”
“More than an elite journalist, Pedro Gomez was a good and decent man, so proud of his family, and his heritage,” former ESPN anchor Bob Ley wrote in another tweet. “His loss is a hammer blow to all who knew this life force. Send one up tonight for his family and friends.”
Longtime Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, ex-Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis and Chicago Cubs manager David Ross were among the current and former players who posted their own tributes on social media Sunday night.
“Heartbreaking news,” 2018 National League MVP Christian Yelich added. “Always enjoyed the conversations every time he’d come through the clubhouse. He’ll be missed by all. Prayers with his family.”
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