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Latin America's Defender of Little League Baseball Died Monday in Greenville

Antonio Vazquez Urdañeta was rushed to the hospital in July, while attending the Big League World Series in Easley.

Support for the family of Antonio Vazquez Urdaneta is coming from around the world.

Vazquez Urdaneta, a defender of Little League baseball in Puerto Rico, died Monday at St. Francis Hospital in Greenville.

In July, Vazquez Urdaneta had been rushed to the hospital while he was attending the Big League World Series in Easley.

According to Ralph Heredia, who is a translator for the Latin American teams during their stay in Easley, Vazquez Urdaneta had suffered a stroke and had gone into a coma at the time of his death. Vazquez Urdaneta had been a dialysis patient for a number of years and had been in need of a kidney transplant, Heredia said.

"He was very well-respected and regarded around Little League baseball," Heredia said.

"He loved baseball and practically every person who was involved in little league, especially the players, all respected him. They say he was the defender for little league baseball in Puerto Rico."

Heredia said that he and his wife had visited Vazquez Urdaneta several times each week, during the time Vazquez Urdaneta was hospitalized. He said they also had spent time with Vazquez Urdaneta's wife and family during that time.

Vazquez Urdaneta came to the Big League World Series the first time in 2002. That was the same year, Puerto Rico won the championship, according to Heredia.

When Puerto Rico again won the championship in 2010, Heredia said, "he thought that would be his last trip to Easley, but he came two years after that." Heredia said that he like the picture above of the 2010 championship win because the smile on Vazquez Urdaneta's face is "priceless."

Heredia said that condolences have come from Columbia, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, in addition to teams from the United States.

"His loss will be felt in Puerto Rico for many years to come," Heredia said.

In addition to a wife, Vazquez Urdaneta is survived by a son and and two  daughters.

Visitation will be held Friday at Funeraria Porta Coeli de Bayamon. Funeral services will be held Saturday, after 1 p.m.

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