(FOX 2) - Detroit Tigers minor league catcher Chace Numata has died at the age of 27.
According to published reports, Numata, who played for the Double-A Lake Erie SeaWolves, was involved in a skateboarding accident Friday morning. He has been hospitalized until dying Sept. 2.
Numata was a native of Pearl City, Hawaii, who had been drafted in the 14th round of the 2010 by the Philadelphia Phillies and signed a minor league contract with the Tigers last November. He spent time between the Sea Wolves and Triple-A Mud Hens this year.
The popular switch-hitting catcher was called "the heart and soul" of the SeaWolves as condolences poured in after his passing.
The owner of the SeaWolves, Fernando Aguirre, in a statement called him a leader, an outstanding teammate and said his personality was "positive and infectious."
The Numata family released the following statement:
"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! #FORNUMI"
And from the Detroit Tigers:
"The Detroit Tigers are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Chase Numata, who was a catcher for our Double A affliate in Erie. Thous 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.
"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. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, teammates and coaches."