All in the Rays community were stunned to learn that long-time radio play-by-play announcer Dave Wills had passed away on Sunday. He was 58 years old
Wills had been the radio voice of the Rays for 18 years, making his debut with partner Andy Freed in 2005.
News reports did not list a cause of death, but Wills had missed some time in the 2022 season with some cardiac issues.
The news of his passing was especially stunning because he had broadcast the Saturday game. You can hear his last call in this clip:
Dave Wills’s final call as a radio voice of the Rays. I am absolutely in shock and stunned by his passing. Just listened to him call the Yankees spring training game yesterday. #RIPDaveWills pic.twitter.com/77VML6ZAtn— Gershon Rabinowitz (@GershOnline) March 5, 2023
Soon after this news was released, his colleagues and others in the baseball world took to Twitter to share their feelings.
From his broadcast partners:
Yesterday was like every other day for the last 18 years. Sharing. Laughs. Baseball. Fun. No way to know it was the last time. Sadness beyond words today. It always felt like we were actual brothers. Will miss him forever. Love to him and his family. pic.twitter.com/pHnHAbwL2J— Andrew Freed (@AndrewFreed33) March 5, 2023
Dave was the big brother I didn't have growing up.— Neil Solondz (@neilsolondz) March 5, 2023
Larger than life and a great friend. It's hard to believe yesterday we were all together in the booth. It doesn't seem real.
We are stunned and heartbroken. All of our thoughts are with Liz, Michelle and Alex. https://t.co/semHEGgzf6
From others in baseball media:
My first year in baseball was in TB in 2008. Dave went out of his way to be nice, introducing me to players & staff. When he heard I always wanted to do radio, he invited me on.— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) March 5, 2023
I can’t imagine what his family & friends are going through. The baseball world lost a light. https://t.co/XycvkvqwYQ
I've been trying to piece my thought together about the passing of Dave Wills, but it's tough to think of him in the past tense. I produced #Rays Radio broadcasts his first five years with the team, and the joy I got working with him and Andy every day is something I cherish.— Steve Carney (@stevecarney) March 5, 2023
So sorry to hear of the sudden passing of Dave Wills. Carla and I just saw Dave yesterday at the Yankees/Rays game in Tampa. He smiled, waved and looked great. He was exactly were he wanted to be. Our hearts go out to Liz, Michelle and Alex. May his memory be eternal.— Dewayne Staats (@dsrays) March 5, 2023
Dave Wills: all-time broadcaster, Hall of Fame laugh. The @RaysRadio booth is a model in our industry: great voices, brilliance in storytelling, appreciation for nuance, joy and passion in every game. My heart is with @AndrewFreed33 and the @RaysBaseball family. @MLBNetwork @MLB https://t.co/a0kkE2jBZ9— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) March 5, 2023
And of course, Rays fans will always remember this: