Former MLB pitcher Odalis Perez died Thursday night after an accidental fall at his home, according to sources close to the athlete. He was alone at his house in the Dominican Republic when he fell off a ladder and suffered from head trauma. He was 44 years old.

Odalis Perez’s attorney Walin Batista spoke with ESPN and confirmed his passing, adding that the left-handed pitcher’s sudden death was a “”tragedy.”

“Around 7 p.m., his brother Cristian Perez arrived at the house and found Odalis lying in the patio,” Batista said. “We don’t know yet the cause of his death, but everything seems to indicate Odalis slipped down a ladder.”

Odalis Perez, former Los Angeles Dodger, dead at 44
Odalis Perez, former Los Angeles Dodger, dead at 44. Photo Credit: MLB / YouTube

Making his major league debut in 1998 with the Atlanta Braves, Odalis Perez was traded three years later to the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he made his only appearance at the All-Star Game. He would go on to play for the Kansas City Royals and the Washington Nationals as well, spending 10 seasons as a professional baseball pitcher.

“The Los Angeles Dodgers mourn the passing of former pitcher and 2002 All-Star Odalis Perez,” the team wrote on Twitter. “Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

The former MLB pitcher held a 73-82 career record and a 4.46 ERA over the course of 1,335 innings.

Former pitcher Curt Schilling also wrote a message on social media in remembrance of Perez, stating: “1) this young man could pitch 2) He seemed to be someone who had as much fun in this game as one could have. Way too young. RIP my friend.”

Odalis was a graduate of Damian David Ortiz High School in the Dominican Republic. He is survived by his mother Viterba, brothers Roberto, Carlos, and Franklin, sons Odalis Jr. and Odalis Angel, and daughter Ambar Avelina.

“Odalis Pérez was our starting pitcher at our 1st game in Nats Park history,” the Washington Nationals wrote on social media. “Our hearts go out to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.”

“RIP Odalis Perez. In 2002, I flew across the country by myself & went to Dodger Stadium for the 1st time. The first person I saw when I got there was Odalis,” a fan wrote. “I quickly pulled out my 35mm camera and asked a stranger to take our pic. Odalis could not have been nicer.”

In 2002, when he made his lone All-Star Game appearance, he also hit his only recorded career home run. He finished his best year with 155 strikeouts, 32 starts, and a 3.00 ERA.

“I was at Wrigley in 2002 when he pitched the best game I ever saw in person,” a fan commented. “I have told that story 100 times… damn, only 44. R.I.P.”

“I remember going to a game where he carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning,” another fan wrote. “He was so talented and fun to watch. RIP to a great Dodger.”

On the eve of his passing, Major League Baseball and the MLB Player’s Union came to an agreement to end the lockout, reaching a collective bargaining agreement. The two sides also agreed to expanding the international amateur draft, which brings over a lot of talented players from Latin America, including Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, where Odalis Perez was born.

The MLB wants to change how these players are drafted to teams, which has always been separate from their usual draft, by establishing an unconventional, 20-round draft just for regions in Latin America.

Many Latin American players spoke up during the process, citing a lack of Latin representation among the union leaders for a decision that would affect their home countries.

“Include us in the process,” one unnamed Latin American player urged during talks. “Hear us.”