Family, friends, fans gather for Jose Fernandez funeral procession, public viewing

MIAMI (WSVN) - Since Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez’s sudden death, Sunday, fans have showed up to Marlins Park in droves to leave mementos in his honor. On Wednesday they will have a chance for a final farewell.

On Wednesday, family, friends and fans will get their chance to be at the side of the 24-year-old’s body one last time as the funeral procession and public viewing takes place.

7Skyforce HD flew over the Caballero Woodlawn Funeral Home, Wednesday, where Fernandez’s casket was put into a hearse and headed to Marlins Park, at around 2 p.m., Wednesday.

As the procession with the hearse headed to Marlins Park from the funeral, the skies opened up and it began to rain. The drizzle stopped as the hearse paused for team members to surround the hearse and bow their heads in prayer.

At around 2:16 the vehicle started moving again with team members walking alongside it. The time of 2:16 is a nod to the All-Star’s number worn in-game.

Before the funeral procession turned to the other side of Marlins Park for fans to have a moment, team members put their hands on the hearse for one last moment, at around 2:20 p.m.

After traveling around the stadium, the procession continued to Ermita de la Caridad, Our Lady of Charity, to have the casket blessed in a private service with friends and family. It arrived at 2:40 p.m. where a priest gave the blessing outside the church.

The hearse then left at around 3 p.m. for its last destination for the day, a public viewing at St. Brendan Catholic Church, located at 8725 SW 32nd St. in Miami, from 5 p.m. – 11 p.m., Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, fans expressed how important Fernandez was to them. “It’s funny, like, I used to sit right behind the dugout,” said Marlins fan Carlos Garcia. “I would have my 5-year-old daughter say his name, and he would always look back and say hi to her. You know, not every major-league player does that.”

Even though many did not know Fernandez personally, they came to love and admire him for what he did on and off the mound. “It’s just so sad,” said Marlins fan Ana Santos. “So sad.”

Related: Fernandez signed baseballs wash ashore, final text messages reveal clues

In a Facebook video, Fernandez is seen with loved ones and his pregnant girlfriend, Maria Arias, at a restaurant before his death. Fernandez was cutting a slice of cake during a gender reveal party for their soon-to-be child.

The cake’s color revealed that Arias is expecting a baby girl.

On Tuesday night, St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz, a childhood friend of Fernandez from Santa Clara, Cuba, had a big moment during his first game back with the team, similar to what was seen Monday, in Miami, from the Marlins’ Dee Gordon.

Diaz hit a grand slam, rounded the bases and pointed to the sky as he crossed home plate.

Also on Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning paused to remember Fernandez ahead of a preseason NHL game. The arena is near a high school once attended by Fernandez.

Back in Miami, fans lined up to sign a wall outside Marlins Park in memory of the star pitcher, leaving messages such as “You taught me passion,” and “Miami is missing an angel.”

Fernandez’s family could be seen leaving their home in Southwest Miami-Dade, Tuesday night, to make final arrangements for the legendary Marlins’ pitcher’s funeral. Cameras captured the moment flowers sent by former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade were delivered to the family.

Related: Florida authorities seek causes of Jose Fernandez boat crash

“Jose Fernandez was Marlins,” said Garcia. “It’s hard. It’s something you don’t get over in a day, in a week. It’s something that the community and Marlins fans are going to feel forever.”

Fernandez’s family is asking that fans donate to the Miami Foundation. If you would like to donate, go to: https://miamifoundation.org.

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