Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images; Jason Wise/MLB Photos via Getty Images
January 23, 2017 11:39 AM

Tragedy struck the baseball world and the Dominican Republic when they lost Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura and former big league infielder Andy Marte. The two athletes died yesterday in separate car crashes in their home country.

Ventura, one of the most famous Hispanic pitchers, helped the Royals win the world championship less than two years ago. He was only 25 years old and died on the Rancho Arriba highway, which led to the town of Juan Adrian, reports PEOPLE. The cause of the accident remains unknown.

Marte, 33, was driving in his Mercedes Benz vehicle from the town of Pimentel to his province, San Francisco de Macoris. It is believed that he was going to celebrate the triumph of his team Águilas Caribeñas, who that evening had won a major tournament in Dominican baseball. His vehicle remained unrecognizable and the first investigations indicate that he was speeding while driving.

Immediately after the news broke, colleagues of the two players—as well as lovers of sport—turned to their social media to express their pain with messages like, “I am still in disbelief,” wrote teammate Matt Strahm. “I am going to miss you Ace! The clubhouse won’t be the same without you. [Yordano Cabrera]”

“Sad to learn of Andy Marte’s death this morning,” the Indians wrote on Twitter with two photos of the 33-years-old athlete. “He was a genuine person who always greeted you with a warm smile.

Just a year ago, the World Health Organization announced that the Dominican Republic is the most dangerous place in the Western Hemisphere to drive, and the number 15 among the worst in the world. And, according to the State of the World’s Highway Safety Report, 29 of every 100,000 people in the Caribbean nation die each year in traffic accidents.

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