The 17-year-old daughter of Toronto Blue Jays’ first base coach Mark “Bud” Budzinski died Saturday, reportedly following a boating accident in Virginia.
The team released a statement on Sunday confirming the death of Julia Budzinski, the eldest daughter of Budzinski and his wife, Monica. Her cause of death hasn’t yet been publicly confirmed.
“This devastating loss is felt by our entire organization and we grieve alongside Bud and his family,” said Ross Atkins, executive vice president of baseball operations and Blue Jays general manager. “I have known Bud for more than 25 years and have always admired his commitment as a dad and husband first. He is loved and well-respected by our entire clubhouse and holds a special place in all our hearts.”
Budzinski will be away from the team to be with his family, which includes two surviving children, the statement noted.
Budzinski formerly played for the Cincinnati Reds and is in his fourth season as the Blue Jays’ first base coach, according to The Washington Post.
He left the third inning of a Blue Jays game on Saturday due to what was described as a “personal matter,” according to The Associated Press.
The Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays held a moment of silence in Julia Budzinski’s honor before the first pitch at Sunday’s game, where an image of her was projected on a jumbotron, the AP reported.
CBS affiliate WTVR of Richmond and Fox affiliate WFXR of Roanoke reported that Budzinski, a high school student, died in a tubing accident on the James River.
According to a representative for the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, a 17-year-old girl died on Saturday after she and another girl fell off a tube being pulled by a boat and the victim was struck by the boat’s propeller after the boat hit a wave, causing it to be pushed on top of her.
“The operator immediately jumped into the river to rescue the victim, as did another passing boat operator,” according to the statement.
No foul play is suspected, and alcohol was not a factor in the incident, the department said, noting that “lifejackets were worn.”
Information on the condition of the other girl who fell off the tube was not immediately available.
Students from Glen Allen High School, where Budzinski was a rising senior, gathered for a vigil in her memory on Sunday night, where Mark and Monica Budzinski also made an appearance, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
“She had just the best year. She had an awesome year,” Monica said of her daughter at the vigil, according to the newspaper.
Of her daughter’s day on Saturday, she added that “it was a very happy, fun last day on earth for her, sadly, obviously. But it was happy, laughing, having a good time.”
“That’s the way I’m going to remember her, and that’s the way everybody needs to. She loved life. She loved being outside, sports, everything. She’ll live on through all you guys.”
Budzinski played varsity soccer and volleyball at her high school and was involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. She was also vice president of the school’s National Honor Society chapter and an avid volunteer with organizations that assist people with disabilities, the newspaper reported.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism