Jose Fernandez pitcher for Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins pitcher, José Fernández

photo: Twitter/MLB

[Update: Oct. 29] Authorities have released information regarding José Fernández's autopsy. Read below.  

Miami Marlins pitcher, José Fernández, died in a horrific boating accident on Sunday, September 25. CNN is reporting that the 24-year-old Cuban-American and two other men were killed when their boat crashed into a rocky jetty around 3:15 am.

Authorities found the boat upside down with two bodies underneath it. Another man had been propelled onto the rocks.

While the incident is still being investigated, authorities do not believe drugs and alcohol played a part in the terrible accident. 

TMZ is reporting that the boat was going at full speed during the crash, which for that type of vessel is 50 mph to 65 mph. None of the victims were wearing life jackets.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly gave a heartbreaking press conference a few hours after the news broke.

He talked about Fernández's playfulness on and off the field.

"When you watch kids playing Little League...that's the joy that Jose played with — and the passion he felt about playing," Mattingly said while holding back tears.

Marlins president David Samson also spoke at the press conference. He said Fernández's had a charismatic personality that resonated with all baseball fans. 

"The magnanimity of his personality transcended culture, religion and race, I mean it just did," Samson said.

The team canceled its scheduled game against the Atlanta Braves. 

The Marlins drafted Fernández in 2011. He soon became their star pitcher.

MLB named him National League Rookie of the Year in 2013 and a two-time all-star. He even pitched a perfect sixth inning in the 2013 all-star game.

But his road to becoming a pro-baseball player — and an American citizen —wasn't an easy one for the Cuban-born athlete. In fact, his death is a huge blow to the Cuban-American community because his life reflects so many of their own struggles and stories. 

Fernández attempted to defect from Cuba three times. Cuban authorities even imprisoned him at 14 for attempting to escape to the United States.

Before 1995, the US allowed Cuban migrants to legally enter, if they made it to American soil. However, those caught in the water, like Fernández's family, were returned to Cuba.

On his fourth attempt, Fernández fled with his mother and sister. His mother almost died after being thrown overboard, but Fernández dove in to save her.

"I dove to help a person not thinking who that person was," Fernández said in an interview with The Miami Herald in 2013. "Imagine when I realized it was my own mother. If that does not leave a mark on you for the rest of your life, I don't know what will."

Fernández and his family entered America through the Mexican border. They then journeyed to Florida.

There is no other Love like it! Mama -Abuela #JDF16

A photo posted by Jose Fernandez (@jofez16) on

In an interview with Grantland, Fernández talked about this confusing transition.

In Mexico, the three of them did whatever they had in order to stay in America, even if that meant bribing Mexican authorities bribes. 

"Whatever these people ask you to do, you do," Fernández said. "When we got to Texas, and we’re standing in the immigration office to get our papers, and it’s finally happening, it was just like..just, I don’t know. Just...damn."

Fernández officially became a US Citizen on April 24, 2015.

"This is a dream that I've had since I was little, and actually achieving it is really amazing," Fernandez said to ESPN. "Having my family here and so much support from this amazing country, it's really fantastic."

In 2013, the Marlins arranged for Fernández to be reunited with his grandmother after years of being apart.

The Marlins secured his grandmother a visa to visit her grandson — and see him pitch in the major leagues. The team captured the surprise reunion on video.

"Oh my God," Fernández says in this heartwarming video. "You've got to be kidding me."

He also posted many pictures of his grandmother on Instagram.

During his short career, Fernández gave back to the community and worked with several charities.

Aside from working with Live Like Bella Foundation for Childhood Cancer, Fernández invited kids from the local neighborhood to attend every Sunday home game at Marlins Park. 

Fernández also worked very closely with the Marlins Ayudan Foundation (Marlins Help), which provides volunteer corps "willing and ready to effectuate positive change in the South Florida community."

Fernández earned $20,000 for being named MLB's rookie of the year. He immediately donated that money to fund childhood cancer research.

"If I can do my part, by being successful on the field, Fernández said in 2014 to NBC, "and help people outside the field, that is truly amazing."

Many people loved him for that reason: He represented the American dream and the fight for a better life.

"He never tired of showing how grateful he was to be in this country, how miraculous his good fortune to be in the city of his dreams," writes Cuban-American journalist Fabiola Santiago in The Miami Herald. "His career was only beginning, and before Sunday, our only fear was that Miami might lose him to another team, like so many others fans had come to love. He never wanted to let his hometown fans down — and wherever he is now, I hope he feels the love and appreciation."

[Update Sept. 28] Fernández leaves behind his family as well as his girlfriend, María Arias, who's expecting their first child.

Our hearts go out to his friends and family. 

[Update: Oct. 29] According to news reports, Fernández had cocaine and alcohol in his system

A toxicology report released on Oct. 29 shows that Fernández had blood-alcohol content level of 0.147, "well above Florida's legal limit of 0.08," according to NBC.