SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8/CNS) - Former San Diego Padres General Manager Kevin Towers has died of cancer, it was reported Tuesday.
The 56-year-old Towers was employed with the Padres from 1995 to 2009, during which time the team won the National League West four times and reached the 1998 World Series against the New York Yankees. He was general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2010 to 2014.
USA Today Major League Baseball reporter Bob Nightengale tweeted out the news a little before 8 a.m., though it was unclear when he died.
Kevin Towers, one of the greatest people this game has ever known, and the ultimate fighter, has passed away from cancer. Unbelievable. He will be greatly missed. Loved that man— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 30, 2018
As the news quickly spread on social media, the condolences came pouring in from the baseball world for the man who was often called "KT."
"My heart is aching big time. We lost a great man today, and if you knew Kevin Towers, yours is as well," tweeted Padres announcer and former pitcher Mark Grant. "KT undoubtedly was one of the best men in all of baseball. If you knew him, you loved him. He treated everyone the same. He had a huge heart. You'll be sorely missed. RIP KT."
Statement from San Diego Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler and General Partner Peter Seidler:
“We are profoundly saddened by the loss of Kevin Towers, who passed away early this morning after a courageous battle with cancer. Kevin spent nearly thirty years in the Padres organization as a player, scout, and front office executive. He led our Club with strength, conviction and unwavering determination, and was beloved by all who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, especially his wonderful wife, Kelley.”
Statement from Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler and General Partner Peter Seidler on the passing of Kevin Towers: pic.twitter.com/NsKTnHyE47— San Diego Padres (@Padres) January 30, 2018
Towers was diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer in late 2016, but news of that diagnosis didn't become public knowledge until October during Game 4 of the World Series. That when's Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch held up a placard with Towers' name during a mid-game promotion for the research fund- raising organization Stand Up to Cancer.
Hinch told media after the game that Towers "means a lot to me."
"He means a lot to the people within the game for many, many years," Hinch said. "He's done everything in the game. I wanted to put someone on there that was a baseball person that has resonated across the game at so many levels for so many years, and we just keep rooting for KT to have a recovery."
Towers was a native of Medford, Oregon, who played college baseball at Brigham Young University in Utah. He was drafted by the Padres as a pitcher but never made to the Majors.
He experienced much more success as a front office executive, helping to lead the Padres to four of their five playoff appearances in franchise history. He was fired in 2009 after two losing seasons.
CBS News 8's Kyle Kraska tweets about a moment he shared with Kevin behind home plate.
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