The pregnant girlfriend of Jose Fernandez was seen in public for the first time since his death on Wednesday when she joined his Marlins teammates to say goodbye to the star pitcher at an emotional memorial service.
Maria Arias, 24, who is around four months pregnant with Fernandez's baby, joined his fellow Marlins teammates at St. Brendan's Catholic Church for the service.
Earlier, the players and friends had walked alongside a hearse carrying the pitcher's casket as it drove by Marlins Park.
The entire Marlins team and numerous Marlins officials had gathered outside the team's ballpark to send off the hearse to St. Brendan's Catholic Church.
Then, hundreds of fans lined up to get into the Miami-area church for a public viewing of the Marlins pitcher, who was killed in a weekend boat crash along with two friends.
St. Brendan's Catholic Church opened its doors for the viewing at 5pm on Wednesday.
People could be seen lined up for blocks and many said they felt compelled to come because of Fernandez's popularity as a baseball player and a hero to many in the Cuban-American community.
The viewing was scheduled to last until about 11pm. A private funeral Mass is set for Thursdayfor the Fernandez family and Marlins players and personnel.
Meanwhile, Fernandez's ex-fiancée called the late baseball star 'a passionate, raw human being' in a touching Instagram tribute and has asked her Instagram followers to respect his pregnant girlfriend.
Former Miami Marlins cheerleader-turned-nursing student Carla Mendoza was in a relationship with Fernandez, who died with two friends early on Sunday when his fishing boat crashed into a jetty at a high rate of speed, for three years before he broke off their engagement in April.
The 24-year-old pitching ace then moved on to Arias, also 24, a former college psychology major who became pregnant with his baby within weeks of starting to date and is due to deliver his baby in February.