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."
When u look back at Kevin Towers tenure with the @Padres u realize he did some great things with owners who didn't always give him much help from a spending perspective. Always great with local media and fans too! He will be missed. #RIP
— Troy Hirsch (@troyhirschfox5) January 30, 2018
Heavy Heart with the news of the passing of Kevin Towers. The Baseball Family has lost an incredible man that gave his heart to its pastime. Condolences to Kelly and KT’s family and friends. RIP 🙏🏻. #padres #mlb #KT pic.twitter.com/EtmP98jC7t
— Mark P Sweeney (@Sweendog9) January 30, 2018
My heart is aching big time. We lost a great man today, and if you knew Kevin Towers, yours is as well. KT undoubtedly was one of the best men in all of baseball. If you knew him, you loved him. He treated everyone the same. He had a huge heart. You’ll be sorely missed. RIP KT
— Mark Grant (@Mudcat55) January 30, 2018
Statement from Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler and General Partner Peter Seidler on the passing of Kevin Towers: pic.twitter.com/NsKTnHyE47
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) January 30, 2018
Kevin Towers kept his fight with cancer private until #Astros manager AJ Hinch revealed it during the World Series.
Towers was one of most respected men in baseball. People around Towers idolized him, loved working for him and considered him family. Tough day for baseball. pic.twitter.com/r4QdAKATh1
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) January 30, 2018
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.
One of the best media guide covers ever. RIP to the ultimate gunslinger, Kevin Towers. pic.twitter.com/Ftx7AtGLDw
— Bernie "Doc El Cajon" Wilson (@berniewilson) January 30, 2018