Shortly after the shocking death of Detroit Tigers first base coach Kimera Bartee was announced, a previously unknown “large brain tumor” was discovered as the cause of death.
What we are learning about the death of Detroit Tigers first base coach Kimera Bartee
Kimera Bartee, a native of Omaha, Neb., had returned home for a visit, including seeing his father, Jerry, when he unexpectedly collapsed. According to reports, he was rushed to the hospital in the early hours of Tuesday morning but did not recover.
Jerry Bartee later told The Omaha World-Herald that medical examiners discovered “a large brain tumor” that stopped fluid flowing to Kimera Bartee’s brain, leading to a loss of consciousness.
The collapse and death was especially shocking as Kimera Bartee had reportedly not mentioned any pain or symptoms in the days leading up to his death.
As discussed in this article, Bartee not only had coached with the Tigers for one season (and was expected to hold the same duties for the 2022 campaign), but had also played for the team in 220 games over four seasons between 1996 (where he made his Major League debut) and 1999. In his rookie season, he paced the team with 20 stolen bases while slashing .253/.308/.304 with a home run and 14 RBI in 247 plate appearances.
Following the conclusion of his playing career (which included additional stops with the Colorado Rockies and Cincinnati Reds after his playing days with the Tigers ended), Bartee also coached for the Baltimore Orioles (2004-07), Pittsburgh Pirates (2008-19), and Philadelphia Phillies (2020).
Detroit executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager Al Avila and manager A.J. Hinch both released statements following Bartee’s death, praising his work on the field as well as his personal qualities.
"“Like many across baseball, I was devastated by the news of Kimera’s passing,” Hinch said in the statement. “From the start of spring training last year, it was clear that “KB” was the epitome of a player’s coach, having an uncanny ability to build deep connections with anyone from a rookie to a 10-year veteran. I was proud of his selflessness and adaptability when he quickly shifted to the Major League staff last season, and how excited he was about the bright future he had in both baseball and life. The sport has lost an amazing man, but more importantly his family has lost a loving fiancé, father, and son.”"