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The Toronto Blue Jays lost a beloved family member over the weekend.
On July 3, the baseball organization confirmed that Julia Budzinski, the eldest daughter of the Toronto Blue Jays' first base coach Mark Budzinski, passed away at the age of 17. "The Budzinskis have been part of our Blue Jays family over the last four seasons. This devastating loss is felt by our entire organization and we grieve alongside Bud and his family," Ross Atkins, the general manager of the Blue Jays, said in a statement. "I have known Bud for more than 25 years and have always admired his commitment as a dad and husband first. He is loved and well-respected by our entire clubhouse and holds a special place in all our hearts."
As Mark and his family, including his wife Monica and kids Josh and Lily, continue to mourn Julia's tragic death, he'll be stepping away from the organization.
During the Blue Jays' game against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 3, the teams held a moment of silence for Julia.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Our hearts are with the Budzinski family 💙 <a href="https://t.co/3zddQ22ue3">pic.twitter.com/3zddQ22ue3</a></p>— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) <a href="https://twitter.com/BlueJays/status/1543653505109561344?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 3, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
As players and coaches lined up on the field at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, a photo of Julia in a Blue Jays shirt was displayed on the jumbotron and an announcement said, "We ask that you keep Mark, Monica, Josh and Lily in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."
While the family has not publicly shared Julia's cause of death, local station WTVR CBS 6 in Richmond, Virginia, reported that she was involved in an apparent tubing accident over the weekend. The outlet, citing sources, stated that Julia was "killed after falling from her tube" into the James River.
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources tells E! News that on July 2 "family and friends were out on the James River pulling two juveniles on a tube behind a boat. After the girls fell off of the tube, and the operator was on his way back to get them out of the water, the boat hit a wave causing it to be pushed on top of the victim (17) striking her with the propeller."
"The operator immediately jumped into the river to rescue the victim, as did another passing boat operator," the department's statement continued. "Once they got the girl out of the water, they rushed back for help. Lifejackets were worn. No foul play is suspected, and alcohol was not a factor. DWR sends their condolences to the friends and family during this unimaginable time."