Former Padres GM Kevin Towers dies at age 56

SAN DIEGO – Former San Diego Padres General Manager Kevin Towers has died of cancer, it was reported Tuesday.

The 56-year-old Towers was employed with the Padres from 1995 to 2009, during which time the team won the National League West four times and reached the 1998 World Series against the New York Yankees. He was general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2010 to 2014.

USA Tuesday Major League Baseball reporter Bob Nightengale tweeted out the news a little before 8 a.m. Tuesday, though it was unclear when he died.

"Kevin Towers, one of the greatest people this game has ever known, and the ultimate fighter, has passed away from cancer," Nightengale tweeted. "Unbelievable. He will be greatly missed. Loved that man."

As the news quickly spread on social media, the condolences came pouring in from the baseball world for the man who was often called "KT."

Towers was diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer in late 2016, but news of that diagnosis didn't become public knowledge until October during Game 4 of the World Series. That when's Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch held up a placard with Towers' name during a mid-game promotion for the research fund- raising organization Stand Up to Cancer.

Hinch told media after the game that Towers "means a lot to me."

"He means a lot to the people within the game for many, many years," Hinch said. "He's done everything in the game. I wanted to put someone on there that was a baseball person that has resonated across the game at so many levels for so many years, and we just keep rooting for KT to have a recovery."

Towers was a native of Medford, Oregon, who played college baseball at Brigham Young University in Utah. He was drafted by the Padres as a pitcher but never made to the Majors.

He experienced much more success as a front office executive, helping to lead the Padres to four of their five playoff appearances in franchise history. He was fired in 2009 after two losing seasons.