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BREAKING NEWS: Buffaloes Hiroyuki Oze Passes Away

by on Feb.05, 2010 @ 5:51 pm, under NPB

=== 2/10/2010 3:20pm JST

850 fans and various other people connected to Oze signed their names on the two guest registries on the 9th.

=== 2/9/2010 3:19pm JST

A private funeral ceremony for Oze was held on the 8th in Nishinomiya.

=== 9:51pm JST

Guest registries for Oze will be available for signing at both Kyocera Dome and Skymark Stadium for a period of three days beginning on 2/9.  They will only be accepting signatures for the registry.

=== 2/8/2010 6:25pm JST

The team held a farewell ceremony for Oze after practice on Monday. 300-400 (different sources, different figures) fans attended the event.

You can see images from the event at the link provided.

=== 2/7/2010 5:07pm JST

Oze's body was returned to his family on Sunday.  The Orix players and staff members all went to the Miyakojima police station and lined up along both sides of the car where his body was transferred and bid Oze farewell.

Kinki University also announced that the number Oze used to wear (7) during his university years will be left open this year.  Hanshin Tigers 5th round draft pick Shunsuke Fujikawa wore the number last year.

=== 9:24pm JST

Oze's close family, including his wife and father, arrived in Okinawa on Saturday.  They met with the authorities to ID the body and to learn more about what happened.

The authorities feel that there was no foul play involved and the cause of death was likely suicide.

=== 10:55am JST

Just some clarification.  His body was actually found on the roof of the second floor portion of the hotel.  This is probably why it took a hotel employee to find the body.  The team rooms are located between the 4th and 11th floors.

And for those wondering, Oze was married (December 2008).  When the media tried to interview her, she still had not received any word from the club.  She was understandably at a loss for words.

Oze's father was also interviewed and said he had no idea what the reason for a suicide could be.  He said he wouldn't believe the news until he saw his son's face.  Yasuo Fujii, the scout that was in charge of Oze when the team drafted him, was also in shock.

Six players (including Alex Cabrera and Takeshi Hidaka) heard the news after returning from practice on their day off.

Akinobu Okada said he'll probably spend the next couple of practice days letting players grieve together and that practice would like be the last thing on everyone's mind.  There's a chance that the team may have each player handle their own practices at their own pace.

It seems Oze also discussed suicide with a number of team mates earlier in January.  A number of team mates also reported that they received an e-mail thanking them the night before.  It seems he was also having some problems at home, but nothing, at least on the surface, that was serious enough to cause suicide.

=== 2/6/2010 1:18am JST

The Buffaloes held a press conference Friday evening for give an official statement.  About 70 members of the press showed up.

=== 8:47pm JST

The Buffaloes held a team meeting at 4:00pm that lasted about 20 minutes.  Most players were shocked to hear the news.

=== 6:40pm JST

Sanspo has posted a number of images of Oze since 2008.

=== 2/5/2010 5:51pm JST

I was just watching the news and heard that Orix Buffaloes Hiryuki Oze passed away today while at Spring camp.  It seems it could be suicide.

Via Nittele News 24:

Oze's body was found lying on the ground outside the team hotel by a hotel worker at around 11:30am.  Oze was pronounced dead at the scene.

The police are currently investigating Oze death as an apparent suicide.

Career Stats

2008 Orix 58 156 130 15 34 8 0 1 45 19 7 3 7 2 16 1 31 1 .262 .346 .342 .693
2009 Orix 78 216 198 24 60 9 1 0 71 11 7 3 4 3 11 0 40 0 .303 .359 .335 .698
Totals 136 372 328 39 94 17 1 1 116 30 14 6 11 5 27 1 71 1 .287 .354 .338 .696