Kevin Towers, who once held the longest tenure of any general manager in the big leagues, has died San Diego Padres officials confirmed.
Towers, 56, died Tuesday morning after battling a rare form of thyroid cancer, USA Today reporter Bob Nightengale posted to Twitter.
"Kevin Towers, one of the greatest people this game has ever known, and the ultimate fighter, has passed away from cancer," Nightengale posted.
The Associated Press reported Towers' friend and former agent Barry Axelrod as saying Towers died Tuesday at a hospital. Towers' wife, Kelley, was at his side.
Axelrod said Towers was admitted to a hospital with fluid on his lungs a few days ago, and friends and family members thought he would be able to go home Tuesday
The former General Managers of the San Diego Padres, Towers once said, "I'm a Padre at heart."
Towers was GM of the Padres for 14 seasons before he was fired in 2009 as part of a front office house cleaning by new owner Jeff Moorad.
Shortly after Moorad made the announcement, Towers took the podium.
"I'm a Padre at heart, always gonna root for the Padres," said Towers choking back emotion. "Next year I'm gonna be rooting like a son of a gun for these guys and for Blackie (manager Bud Black), cause it's truly a reflection on some of the work that I've done."
Under Towers, the Padres won four NL West titles and reached the 1998 World Series.
The team issued a statement Tuesday confirming Towers passed away "after a courageous battle with cancer."
"Kevin spent nearly 30 years with the Padres organization as a player, scout, and front office executive," the team said. "He led our Club with strength, conviction and unwavering determination, and was beloved by all who knew him."
First drafted by the San Diego Padres as a pitcher in 1982, he retired after a few years in the minor leagues. He then moved into scouting.
After leaving the Padres in 2009, Towers went on to the front office of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011 where he worked until 2014.