Longtime Tampa Bay Rays announcer Dave Wills, who spent 18 years in the booth for the organization, passed away on Sunday morning, the team announced. He was 58.
The Rays announced Wills’ passing on social media shortly before Sunday’s spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles.
“The Tampa Bay Rays are deeply saddened to announce the passing of longtime radio announcer Dave Wills,” the statement read. “A beloved figure throughout the Tampa Bay community and Major League Baseball, he will be missed dearly.”
According to the team’s website, the Rays canceled Sunday’s radio broadcast, and plans to honor Wills with a “special pregame tribute” during the regular season.
“Dave was an outstanding broadcaster, a great friend and an even better person,” Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said in a statement. “He had a remarkable talent for bringing the game to life for our fans and was a vital part of the Rays family.”
“We will miss him dearly and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time.”
Wills was originally from Chicago and grew up a White Sox fan. Before joining the Rays in 2005, Wills spent 11 years with the organization’s radio broadcast team.
“The White Sox organization extends condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of radio broadcaster Dave Wills, who passed away at age 58,” the team said in a statement on social media.
“Wills worked 11 seasons on the White Sox Radio Network with John Rooney and the late Ed Farmer as a pre and postgame host.”
According to the Rays’ website, Wills missed the remainder of the 2022 regular season after he was hospitalized in September with a heart issue.
He returned for the playoffs and was last in the booth for Saturday’s game against the New York Yankees.