Authorities are investigating the death of former Braves and Angels pitcher Tommy Hanson. Coweta County coroner Richard Hawk said an autopsy began Tuesday, following Tommy Hanson’s death at the age of 29 on Monday night at Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital.
Hawk said Tommy Hanson was found ”unconscious and unresponsive” in Coweta County near Atlanta on Sunday. He was initially taken to a hospital in Newnan before being transferred to Piedmont.
Hawk told The Associated Press on Tuesday night ”the cause and manner of death are still under investigation.”
Tommy Hanson, a right-hander, pitched for the Braves from 2009-2012, winning at least 10 games each season. He pitched for the Angels in 2013 before signing minor league contracts with the White Sox in 2014 and the Giants in 2015.
Tommy Hanson was regarded as Atlanta’s top pitching prospect when he made his debut in 2011, posting an 11-4 record with a 2.89 ERA.
Hanson, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was 49-35 with a 3.80 ERA in five major league seasons. He was 4-6 with a 4.76 ERA with two minor league teams in the Giants organization in 2015.
There were immediate expressions of shock and grief on social media following word of Hanson’s death.
Former Braves teammate Chipper Jones said on his Twitter account: ”My heart is broken today. Tommy Hanson was a great teammate, friend and pitcher. We all loved and pulled for him. We ALL will miss him. (hash)RIP”
Braves president John Schuerholz said the team was ”incredibly saddened” when it learned of Hanson’s death.
”He was a favorite in the clubhouse and with our staff and he will truly be missed by everyone in Braves Country,” Schuerholz said in a statement. ”Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, family, former teammates and friends.”
Former Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, now with the Padres, called Hanson ”a great person.”
Added Kimbrel on his Twitter account: ”It hurts my heart to see him go so soon. My prayers and thoughts are with the Hanson family.”
Tommy Hanson was the MVP of the 2008 Arizona Fall League. The league held a moment of silence for Hanson on Tuesday.