Vera Clemente, MLB ambassador and widow of Pirates legend Roberto Clemente, dies at 78

Jack Baer
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 28:  Vera Clemente speaks during the 2016 Roberto Clemente Award Press Conference prior to Game 3 of the 2016 World Series between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday, October 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB via Getty Images)
After her husband's tragic death, Vera Clemente worked as a goodwill ambassador for Major League Baseball. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB via Getty Images)

Vera Clemente, one of the game’s great ambassadors and the widow of Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, has died, the team announced Saturday. She was 78.

Pirates owner Bob Nutting released a statement praising her strength after the tragic loss of her husband and compassion as an ambassador of the team, baseball and her native Puerto Rico.

As chairwoman of the Roberto Clemente Foundation, Vera worked as a goodwill ambassador for MLB and actively worked to preserve her husband’s humanitarian legacy. To raise funds for a sporting complex in Puerto Rico, she gave fundraising speeches and hosted a telethon to make her husband’s dream of the complex come true.

Clemente would also be on hand each year for the presentation of the Roberto Clemente Award, given to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team.”

The award’s most recent winner was Cleveland Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco for his support of child cancer patients as he fought the disease himself.

Vera is survived by her three sons, Roberto Clemente Jr., Luis and Enrique.

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