Beloved former New York Mets star Rusty Staub passed away early Thursday morning at age 73. Staub died at 12:30 a.m. at the Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach due to multiple organ failure. He was initially admitted with pneumonia, dehydration and an infection and had spent the last eight weeks in the hospital. He would have turned 74 on Sunday.
Staub battled a number of health issues in recent years, including a near-fatal heart attack, October 2, 2015, on a flight from Ireland to New York. He reportedly became woozy while playing golf near his Palm Beach Gardens, Florida home in late January. He was later discovered to be suffering from cellulitis, which evolved into a blood infection that resulted in a shutdown of his kidneys.
He was in many ways, a bigger-than-life baseball personality, humanitarian, gourmet chef, wine connoisseur and a friend to all who knew him.
Staub was affectionately known as "Le Grand Orange" by Expos fans from his playing days in Montreal.
Staub's passing comes just hours before the NY Mets begin their 2018 season against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field.
The team released a statement before taking the field in Flushing:
"The Mets family suffered another loss earlier today when Daniel 'Rusty' Staub passed away in a West Palm Beach Hospital after an illness," "He was almost as well known for his philanthropic work as he was for his career as a baseball player, which spanned 23 seasons. There wasn't a cause he didn't champion. Rusty helped children, the poor, the elderly and then there was his pride and joy, The New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund.