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Nationals prospect dies of meningitis

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BOCA CHICA, Dominican Republic

The Washington Nationals were mourning Saturday the loss of 18-year-old shortstop prospect Yewri Guillen, who died from bacterial meningitis, MLB.com reported.

Guillen played in the Nats' baseball academy in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic.

TRAGIC DEATHS

Many athletes and sports figures have been lost way too soon.

The Lerner family, owners of the Nationals, was paying for his funeral Saturday, two days after he passed away. The Nationals players also gave money to help Guillen's family.

The team observed a moment of silence in his honor Friday night before the 4-3 defeat of the Milwaukee Brewers.

"It's a tragic situation," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told the Washington Post. "Yewri Guillen was one of our bright, young Dominican prospects. ... We feel terrible about it and it's something that should never happen to anybody, but specifically not an 18-year-old person."

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Dr. Wemi Douoguih, the team's medical director, said it was not known when Guillen contracted the illness, but added that he began showing symptoms of the disease April 10.

He said everything was done "to the letter" by medical and training staff but the death could not be prevented.

"Unfortunately, even with the best treatment, the mortality rate is about 20 to 30 percent. So it's a very terrible thing," he said.

Douoguih added that no one else in the Dominican Academy was at risk of catching the disease.

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