HOLIDAY, Fla. -- Former MLB and Syracuse Chiefs ace Roy Halladay died Tuesday afternoon in a small plane crash off the coast of Florida near Tampa Bay, authorities confirm. He was 40 years old.

Halladay, who pitched for the Chiefs when they were the AAA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays in the late 1990s, was flying in his ICON A-5 aircraft, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. He had posted several photos and videos of him with the aircraft over the past year.

Halladay was the only one onboard, authorities said.

A resident called authorities about the plane crash.

"From my house to the top of the trees, (the plane) went past a little ways over the trees, hung a left and then tilted to the left into the water," witness Michael Lennon told Bay News 9, a sister station of this news channel.

Another witness Leslie Southard, said smoke was coming out of the engines. "Flying really low and you could just tell it was going down," she said of the plane."

He appeared in 56 games with the Chiefs over four seasons, according to the statistics website

The Chiefs, who are now the affiliate of the Washington Nationals, released a statement on Twitter: "At this time we're keeping Roy's close friends and loved ones in our thoughts and prayers. May he rest easy."

Halladay is a former eight-time All-Star pitcher for the Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies. He won the Cy Young Award, given to the league's top pitcher, in 2003 and 2010, before retiring in 2013.