The sea that gave José Fernández a new life in Miami, then tragically took it away in a violent boating accident, will — perhaps fittingly — be his final resting place.
According to a report by Radio Martí, a group of Fernandez’s family and friends scattered the 24-year-old Marlins pitcher’s ashes at the site of the crash Sunday, exactly one week since the fatal accident that killed the All-Star and two friends, Eduardo Rivero, 25, and Emilio Macias, 27.
With U.S. and Cuban flags in tow, Fernandez’s mother, Maritza, deposited his remains at sea, something she said she and Fernandez had agreed on. The group paid homage to Fernandez in white “Jose Day” T-shirts and with a lunch in his honor.
Balloons and flowers were left behind at the jagged jetty off South Beach where Fernandez’s 32-foot SeaVee, Kaught Looking, was found in the early morning of Sept. 25. Since the tragedy, the Miami community turned out in the thousands to honor the late pitcher, who arrived from Cuba at age 14 in an escape by boat that resonated deeply with the Cuban exile community.
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After three failed attempts to leave the island and serving a jail sentence, Fernandez sailed across the Gulf of Mexico to freedom and went on to sign a multimillion dollar contract with the Marlins.
A public processional last week starting in Marlins Park and culminating at St. Brendan Catholic Church in Westchester drew thousands of baseball fans who spoke of the player’s infectious, happy-go-lucky attitude. His family and friends honored him at a private service at St. Brendan on Thursday.
“Thank you to everyone who, from the bottom of their hearts, loved my beautiful son,” said Maritza Fernandez in a note to Radio Martí.
The investigation into Fernandez’s death is ongoing.