Hanshin Tigers' chief advance scout Chosuke Watanabe passed away on Tuesday after suffering a heart attack. He was 54.
Watanabe joined the Hanshin organization as a 3rd round draft pick in 1979. He retired from the club in 1986 and took on various jobs with the club over the years (coaching and scouting positions).
According to unnamed team sources, Watanabe arrived in Toyama on the 27th and went about business as usual. When he didn't show up the following morning for a team meeting, a call was placed to check on his whereabouts. When the calls went unanswered, team personnel went into Watanabe's room (with cooperation from the team hotel) and found him in lying in his bed -- likely passing away in his sleep. Toyama police also don't believe any foul play was involved.
UPDATE @ 2:22pm - Watanabe had a history of high blood pressure and hit a rough patch back when Akinobu Okada managed the team.
UPDATE 7/1/20111 @ 3:36pm - Around 250 people (family, relatives, baseball people) attended Watanabe's services today.