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Former MLB player Ryan Freel dead of apparent suicide

The 36-year-old Freel was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Jacksonville, Fla.
Ryan freel suicideEnlarge
CHICAGO - MAY 27: Ryan Freel #4 of the Chicago Cubs takes a swing against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 27, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Pirates 5-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) (JONATHAN DANIEL /AFP/Getty Images)

Former Major League Baseball payer Ryan Freel was found dead of an apparent suicide at his home in Jacksonville, Fla on Saturday. 

Jacksonville police said they were treating the 36-year-old player's death as a suicide.

ESPN reports that Freel played for five teams over an eight-year major league career. He last played for the MLB in 2009 and is best known for his stretch with the Cincinnati Reds.

According to USA Today, Freel stole 110 bases in a three-year stretch and earned $11.55 million in his career. Freel's career ended prematurely after a series of injuries starting in 2006. 

The Reds director of media relations Rob Butcher sent a statement to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The Reds family is deeply saddened to hear of the death of Ryan Freel. His teammates and our fans loved him for how hard he played the game, and he loved giving back to the community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

Freel's former teammates Brandon Phillips and Sean Casey and paid tribute to Freel on Twitter. 

#RIP to my friend & great teammmate #RyanFreel! Really hurt by his passing! You'll never will be forgotten... - Brandon Phillips (@DatDudeBP) December 23, 2012

RIP Ryan Freel!! Great teammate, great guy,n loved his family! Such a sad day today with his passing!Awful news!Prayers are with his family!— Sean Casey (@TheMayorsOffice) December 23, 2012

Freel returned to his hometown of Jacksonville after retiring in 2009. USA Today reports that he coached youth players for an organization called Big League Development.

He left behind a wife Christie, and three young daughters.

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