MLB umpire Wally Bell dies of heart attack

Wally Bell, who spent 21 years as a big-league umpire and worked in multiple playoff series, passed away on Monday.

Major League Baseball umpire Wally Bell passed away from a heart attack on Monday, MLB announced. He was 48.

Bell recently worked the National League Division Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates. He spent 21 years as a big-league umpire, getting his start in 1993 after working in the minor leagues for eight seasons. He wore No. 35.

Bell served as an umpire in the 2006 World Series and worked seven Division Series, three League Championship Series and three All-Star Games, in addition to the first game played in New York City after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. His proudest moment as an umpire was his return to the field after undergoing open heart surgery in 1999, according to his bio in the 2013 MLB Umpire Media Guide.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig offered his thoughts on Bell's passing in a statement released by the league:

"All of us at Major League Baseball are in mourning tonight regarding the sudden passing of Wally Bell. I always enjoyed seeing Wally, who was a terrific umpire and such an impressive young man. On behalf of our 30 Clubs, I extend my deepest condolences to Wally's family, fellow Umpires and his many friends throughout the game."

Bell, who did volunteer work for the American Heart Association, leaves behind two children.

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