Julio Lugo dies: Major Leaguer dies aged 45 after illness

Julio Lugo found fame as a major leaguer during the 2000s

Former Major League Baseball player Julio Lugo has died after an illness. He was 45.

The South American was selected by the San Diego Padres from Cuba in 1999 and worked his way through the Major Leagues, finally retiring in 2006.

The Padres also paid tribute to the player on Twitter.

“We are saddened to report that Julio Lugo has passed away,” it read. “He will be remembered as one of the most talented players in franchise history.”

Lugo became famous in 2001 as a member of the Boston Red Sox team which went on to win the World Series and went on to become a six-time All-Star.

The southpaw was the first Cuban to defect to the MLB.

His wife stated that he died “peacefully after a long illness”.

“All of us at the Padres are shocked and saddened by the loss of Julio Lugo,” the Padres’ statement continued.

“Julio was one of the most beloved players in our franchise’s history and one of the true gentlemen of the game.

“Julio made countless contributions to our team’s success. His passion for the game was matched only by his humility.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

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