CARACAS, Venezuela -- Former major league pitcher Geremi Gonzalez, who played for five major league teams including the Milwaukee Brewers, was killed by a lightning strike in his native Venezuela on Sunday. He was 33.
Emergency management official Herman Bracho said Monday that Gonzalez was struck by lightning at a beach.
Gonzalez pitched in the big leagues from 1997 to 2006. The right-hander appeared in 131 games with 83 starts, compiling a 30-35 record.
Gonzalez also played for the Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and Chicago Cubs. He made a combined 24 appearances for the Mets and Brewers in his final major league season in 2006.
"He was so much fun to be around. He was always happy, always smiling," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "He was a guy that could scare real easy and then horse laugh. He was just one of those guys that when he saw you, he always had a smile on his face."
The Toronto Blue Jays released him during spring training last year. Gonzalez then moved to Japan and pitched in five games for the Yomiuri Giants.
"The Chicago Cubs are very saddened today to learn of Geremi Gonzalez's sudden passing," general manager Jim Hendry said in a statement.