SYDNEY — International baseball veteran, Olympic baseball coach and Australia baseball legend Greg Jelks, 55, suffered a heart attack and passed away last Thursday aboard a return flight to his adopted homeland, Australia.

Jelks and his jersey number 44 were honoured during Saturday’s exhibition between the Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League (ABL) and the Australian National Team.  The ABL also posted a video tribute.

The Alabama, USA-native obtained Australian citizenship in the 1990s and was a member of the Australian National Baseball Team at the Baseball World Cup 1998.  He was appointed to the Aussie coaching staff at the Olympic Games Sydney 2000.  He served as a coach for Australia in the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2013, and for the 2017 World Baseball Classic Sydney Qualifier won by Australia last February.

“Greg was hugely influential in baseball in Australia, particularly on the West Coast,” Baseball Australia Chairman David Hynes said. “We have lost an amazing person.”

Baseball Western Australia CEO Lachy DaleGreg said, “Greg will be sadly missed by the baseball community but his legacy will forever live on.”

Jelks debuted with Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies in 1987. He continued his career in the Italian Baseball League and served as a player and then a coach with ABL’s Perth Heat.