Vera Clemente, the widow of Roberto Clemente and goodwill ambassador for Major League Baseball, died Saturday. She was 78.
The Pirates tweeted on Nov. 1 that Clemente was in "delicate health."
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Vera Clemente, the widow of the great Roberto Clemente and a cherished member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Major League Baseball family," Pirates chairman of the board Bob Nutting said in a released statement. "Vera epitomized grace, dignity and strength in the wake of heartbreaking tragedy and loss.
"Following Roberto’s passing, Vera raised their three sons into outstanding men, while also working tirelessly to ensure her and her husband’s shared vision of compassion, service and love of others lived on forever. Vera was an amazing ambassador for the Pirates organization, our city, the game of baseball and their beloved Puerto Rico. It is with very heavy hearts that we send our condolences to Roberto Jr., Luis, Enrique and the entire Clemente family. May they find comfort in knowing that Vera and Roberto are together once again.”
Commissioner Rob Manfred also released a statement:
“All of us at Major League Baseball are saddened by the passing of Vera Clemente, the wife of legendary Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente. As a Goodwill Ambassador for MLB, Vera impacted countless children and extended her family’s humanitarian legacy of helping those in need. With grace and strength, she led the way in welcoming players to the fraternity of Roberto Clemente Award winners, the single most prestigious off-the-field honor in our game.
“Vera’s baseball family will miss her greatly. We send our deepest condolences to Roberto Jr., Luis, Enrique, the entire Clemente family, the fans of Pittsburgh and Puerto Rico, and her many admirers across our game.”
Vera was a chairwoman of the Roberto Clemente Foundation, which focuses on relief efforts for areas stricken by disaster and long-term poverty so they can “spread Roberto’s legacy of faith, love, and service to thousands of needy people all over the world.”
Puerto Rico governor Wanda Vázquez Garced tweeted her condolences. Translated from Spanish, she wrote: "I join the pain of the family of Mrs. Vera Cristina Zabala, widow of our star, Roberto Clemente. Vera worked to ensure that Clemente's legacy will last, pride of all Puerto Ricans. Rest in peace."
Me uno al dolor de la familia de doña Vera Cristina Zabala, viuda de nuestra estrella, Roberto Clemente. Vera trabajó por velar que el legado de Clemente perdurara, orgullo de todos los puertorriqueños. Que descanse en paz.
— Wanda Vázquez Garced (@wandavazquezg) November 16, 2019
Reactions came from all over in all forms:
We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Vera Clemente, the widow of the great Roberto Clemente and a cherished member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Major League Baseball family. pic.twitter.com/ol23iJPP70
— Pirates (@Pirates) November 17, 2019
Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark issued the following statement on the passing of Vera Clemente: pic.twitter.com/67Dqw951m2
— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) November 17, 2019
Doña Vera is in heaven, reunited with Roberto. Vera and Roberto dedicated their lives to helping others, now we must do as they taught us. Encircle their family with love, prayers, support and guidance. God blessed us with Roberto & Vera, we will follow their lead & bless others. pic.twitter.com/kywI23RgTr
— Manny Sanguillen (@TheRealSangy35) November 17, 2019
GOD HAS CALLED VERA CLEMENTE https://t.co/YPKrIhENHO WHO KEPT HER FAMILY TOGETHER UNDER TRAGIC https://t.co/gTTHJpzAik WHO CARRIED HERSELF WELL WITH DIGNITY.MAY YOU REST IN PEACE AS YOU DESERVE.THANKS FOR BEING PART OF MY LIFE.I KNOW NOW BETTER THAN EVER WHY ROBERTO MARRIED YOU!! pic.twitter.com/pRkoZqhj6z
— AL OLIVER (@Alscoop16) November 17, 2019
Our family is truly saddened to hear of the loss of our dear friend Vera Clemente. Our thoughts and prayers are with her sons Roberto Jr., Luis and Enrique. We will always remember her Smile, Kindness and Beautiful Heart. Descansa En Paz Querida Vera. @RClementejr21 pic.twitter.com/IzhAGvErA6
— Omar Renan Moreno Q (@OmarMoreno79) November 17, 2019
Behind every great man is an even better woman. It was an honor to get to meet you and listen to stories of you and your family. Rest In Peace with your husband, Vera. pic.twitter.com/37K33Xewoc
— Trevor Williams (@MeLlamoTrevor) November 17, 2019
The NBHOF joins all of baseball in remembering Vera Clemente, wife of Hall of Famer and @Pirates legend Roberto Clemente. Vera embodied the same character, integrity and generosity that made Roberto into a Hall of Fame player and a dedicated and passionate humanitarian. pic.twitter.com/8JGiOPQfBw
— National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum ⚾ (@baseballhall) November 17, 2019
“Vera. The world has lost a force for compassion, grace & charity. Pittsburgh has lost an Ambassador of kindness. I’ve been blessed to know Doña Vera Zabala Clemente since childhood. Sending love to Roberto, Luis & Enrique. Thanks for sharing your mom with all of us.” pic.twitter.com/6eGTjgTqlh
— Office of the Mayor (@TheNextPGH) November 17, 2019
RIP Vera Clemente, widow of HoFer Roberto Clemente🇵🇷 , who spent his entire career w the #Pirates, has died at the age of 81. Here's the @sabr bio of her husband, the Great One https://t.co/YxOkqSdJo6 pic.twitter.com/Tzl36DLz7u
— SABR BioProject (@SABRbioproject) November 17, 2019
Rest in Peace Vera Clemente, widow of Roberto Clemente. pic.twitter.com/9jESjTq2M6
— Baseball In Pics (@baseballinpix) November 17, 2019
The last time I saw my friend Vera Clemente, we stuffed hurricane relief bags at the 2017 World Series in Houston. She carried on Roberto’s legacy of dignity & cheerfully helped people all over & she was a key figure in #DiamondsFromTheDugout. With 21 now. God bless you, Vera. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/J2TQSt7TQM
— Marathoner (@marathoner) November 17, 2019
“Actually, my favorite saying is: ‘I'm very proud to be Roberto's son, but I feel extremely fortunate to be Vera's son, as well,’” Luis Clemente said last month. RIP, Doña Vera Clemente. pic.twitter.com/0h16Wl5CGp
— La Vida Baseball (@LaVidaBaseball) November 17, 2019
Vera and Roberto were married from Nov. 14, 1964 through his passing on Dec. 31, 1972. She is survived by their three sons, Roberto Clemente Jr., Luis, and Enrique.
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