Marlins' star pitcher José Fernéndez passed away in a boating accident on Sunday

By Kathy Ehrich Dowd
Updated September 29, 2016 12:30 PM
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Credit: Wilfredo Lee/AP

Before José Fernéndez announced to the world that he was becoming a father, the late Miami Marlins pitcher showed off his paternal side when he deftly comforted a boy he saw crying in the stands.

Instagram user @lunchtimegraphs posted a sweet video of Fernéndez approaching the boy and asking for his autograph – while also offering up his own.

“You write it here and I write it here,” Fernéndez, 24, instructed the boy with an encouraging smile as he held a Sharpie.

The ace then cheered for the boy as he signed the book, then asked to rip out the page so he could keep the autograph for himself.

“RIP Jose Fernandez. A few months ago, Jose saw this boy cry. Jose went over to him and asked him for his autograph. #josefernandez,” @lunchtimegraphs captioned the Instagram video.

Fernéndez died early Sunday morning alongside friends Emilio Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25, after their boat crashed into a rock jetty.

RELATED VIDEO: Inside José Fernéndez’s Final Hours Before the Ace Pitcher’s Tragic Death at Sea

On Wednesday, many gathered at Marlins Park for a funeral procession and memorial service, which included his teammates movingly surrounding his hearse as it made its way to a local church. Family and friends are also taking part in a private funeral Thursday.

His pregnant girlfriend, Maria Arias, was among those who attended Wednesday’s memorial service.

Just days before his death, Fernandez shared the news that he was becoming a father on Instagram.

“I’m so glad you came into my life. I’m ready for where this journey is gonna take us together. #familyfirst,” he wrote alongside an image of Arias cradling her baby bump.