Minor League outfielder Evan Chambers passed away in his sleep over the weekend, leaving the Pirates organization in mourning on Monday over the loss of a talented player and beloved teammate.
"All of us at the Pittsburgh Pirates are shocked and saddened by Evan's sudden passing in his sleep this past weekend," GM Neal Huntington said in a statement. "Beyond being just a talented ballplayer, Evan was a great teammate and a quiet leader who went about his craft as a professional every day. Off the field, Evan loved making a difference in the community, and often dedicated a lot of his time working with children in the communities in which he played. Our heartfelt sympathies and prayers go out to his family for this unimaginable loss. He was far too young. He will be missed."
Chambers, 24, was the Pirates' third-round selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. He played at Lakeland (Fla.) Senior High School, the University of Florida and Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, where he hit .324 with 11 home runs and 27 steals in 2009.
He was a strong, stocky player with good power and speed, often drawing comparisons to late Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett.
In five seasons with the Pirates' system, he played 395 games with a .227 average, 29 homers, 158 RBIs and 73 stolen bases. He started his career in 2009 with State College in the New York-Penn League, in 2010 was with West Virginia in the South Atlantic League and spent 2011-12 with Bradenton in the Florida State League. He advanced to Double-A Altoona for part of the 2012 season.
This year he suffered a broken foot in Spring Training. In mid-July he played four rehab games in the Gulf Coast League and then went back on the disabled list.
Former teammates were among those tweeting expressions of sorrow.
"Lost a good friend of mine today my first roommate in my first full season w/ the Pirates Evan Chambers I love you man and I will miss ya," tweeted Aaron Baker.
"Completely heartbroken...Evan Chambers was as good as they come. Can't believe you're gone. Love you brother, always," wrote Brock Holt.
"I'm just in shock right now. Evan was such a good guy," Zack Dodson tweeted.
Phillip Irwin added: "My thoughts and prayers go out to Evan Chambers and his family, I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss."
From Jameson Taillon: "So sad to hear about Chambo passing away. He was always one of my favorite teammates! Such a great guy. Too young."
In lieu of flowers, the Chambers family has requested donations be made in Evan's honor to this children's charity: Foundation for Dreams and Dream Oaks Camp, 16110 Dream Oaks Place, Bradenton, Fla. 34212.
A funeral service will be held Saturday at 3 p.m. ET at the New Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church located at 2122 Martin L. King Jr. Ave., Lakeland, FL, 33805.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com.