His work ethic was legendary as was the stoic nature he maintained when he went to work on the pitching mound during a storied 16-year major-league career.
Equally important, Roy Halladay, who died on Tuesday in a plane crash off the coast of Florida, will be remembered as a warm and caring individual who could not do enough for those who were fortunate enough to cross his path.
Nicknamed Doc, after the legendary gunslinger, Halladay, 40, is considered, along with Dave Stieb, as one of the best pitchers to have pulled on a Toronto Blue Jays uniform.
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said during a news conference that Halladay's Icon A5 went down around noon off the coast of Florida. The sheriff's office marine unit responded and found Halladay's body in shallow water near some mangroves. The plane was upside down and no survivors were found.
Police said they couldn't confirm where the plane was headed.
Nocco referred most questions involving the crash to the National Transportation Safety Board, which will take over the investigation, but he said there had been no mayday call received by air traffic control in nearby Tampa before the crash.
Halladay, married and the father of two boys, was piloting a tiny amphibious craft that is made for recreational pilots and can land and take off both from the water and the tarmac. The plane is equipped with a parachute in case of emergency.
"I keep telling my dad flying the Icon A5 low over the water is like flying a fighter jet!," Halladay wrote on his Twitter account on Oct. 31 shortly after he took possession of the plane. "His response … I am flying a fighter jet!!"
"The Toronto Blue Jays organization is overcome by grief with the tragic loss of one of the franchise's greatest and most respected players, but even better human being," the Blue Jays said in a news release. "Impossible to express what he has meant to this franchise, the city and its fans. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."
Major League Baseball commissioner Robert Manfred said in a statement, "All of us at baseball are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic passing of former Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay. A well-respected figure throughout the game, Roy was a fierce competitor during his 16-year career, which included eight all-star selections, two Cy Young Awards, a perfect game and a postseason no-hitter.
"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to his family, including his wife, Brandy, and two sons, Ryan and Braden, his friends and countless fans, as well as the Blue Jays and Phillies organizations."
For the first 12 years of his career, Halladay rose to prominence as one of the game's best with the Blue Jays, winning the Cy Young as the American League's top pitcher in 2003. That season he posted a record of 22-7 and worked an astounding 266 innings, an unheard-of workload in modern-day baseball.
"You go back and you think of Roy – and you don't want to call him infallible," Beeston said. "But he was always prepared for everything. And when you hear something like this happening, you think back to all the good things this man represented.
"And he can best be described as humble."
Following the 2009 season playing for mostly awful Blue Jays teams, Halladay let the organization know he was amenable to a trade, that his desire was to join a contending team before his playing career was through.
The Blue Jays dealt him to the Philadelphia Phillies for the 2010 season where Halladay picked up where he left off in Toronto with dominating performances – pitching a perfect game on May 29 against the Florida Marlins.
Halladay went 21-10 that year and garnered his second Cy Young Award and led the Phillies into the playoffs.
In his first career postseason appearance in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, Halladay delivered what was perhaps his signature moment in the game, hurling a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds. He became just the second player in major-league history to pitch a no-hitter in the postseason.
"We are numb over the very tragic news about Roy Halladay's untimely death," the Phillies said in a statement. "There are no words to describe the sadness that the entire Phillies family is feeling over the loss of one of the most respected human beings to ever play the game."
Halladay would never get the World Series title he so coveted and retired following the 2013 season, a winner of 203 games against 105 losses. Last June, Halladay was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont.
"He's by far one of the most dedicated, hard-working individuals that I came across in the world of baseball, as a teammate or opponent," said slugger Jose Bautista, who was a former teammate of Halladay's on the Blue Jays.
Speaking on Sportsnet's Tim & Sid sports-talk show, Bautista said he was deeply saddened and extremely upset by the news.
"He's definitely one of those guys I looked to at different times to get inspired on how to go about my business," Bautista said.
The outpouring of grief and emotion at Halladay's passing flooded social media from all corners of baseball almost from the moment his death was confirmed.
Vernon Wells, a teammate of Halladay's in Toronto, posted: "One of the best to ever do it. I had a front row seat to watch his greatness RIP Doc."
Major-league star Mike Trout: "In shock over the terrible news about Roy Halladay… a pitcher I grew up admiring & rooting for. Praying for his family & friends. #RIPDoc."
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman: "Oh my god man. Day ruined. Wow. Prayers with the entire Halladay family. This is awful."
A.J. Burnett paired with Halladay to give the Blue Jays a formidable one-two punch in the starting rotation for a couple of seasons. Burnett took to Instagram to speak about his old friend and posted a profile picture of the two standing beside one another from their Toronto playing days.
"The best I've ever been around," Burnett said. "Incredible athlete and more importantly, an incredible man. My prayers go out to Brandy, Braden, and Ryan. Love you DOC! I'll never forget you and all you did for me and my family! #RIPDoc."
With files from the Associated Press
The right-hander's stellar career, by the numbers
1: The only save of Halladay's career came on April 7, 1999, when he pitched the final three innings in a 9-3 win over the host Minnesota Twins.
2: Halladay is one of just two pitchers to throw a no-hitter in the postseason, and the only one to do it in the National League.
2: Number of times Halladay won the Cy Young Award as his league's top pitcher. He won the American League award with Toronto in 2003 and the National League award with Philadelphia in 2010, leading the majors in wins both times.
5: Number of seasons in which Halladay eclipsed the 200-strikeout mark.
8: The number of all-star games Halladay was selected to. Six were with the Blue Jays, two with the Phillies.
20: Halladay pitched the 20th perfect game in Major League Baseball history as a member of the Phillies on May 29, 2010.
67: Number of times Halladay went the distance in a complete game.
203-105: Halladay's all-time regular-season record.
1998: The year Halladay broke into the league. He picked up his first career win on the final game of the season, coming within one out of a no-hitter in just his second career start. He became the face of the franchise.
2009: On Dec. 15, 2009, Halladay was dealt to Philadelphia for minor-league prospects Travis d'Arnaud, Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor.
2013: Halladay signed a one-day contract with Toronto on Dec. 9, 2013, to retire as a Blue Jay.
2,117: The total number of batters Halladay fanned over his career.
The Canadian Press