CHICAGO -- As the news of John Marzano's sudden death on Saturday spread throughout the baseball world, it has become evident that the former Major League catcher and MLB.com on-air personality touched the lives of countless people that he met during his 23 years playing and working within the industry.
Included among those is Pirates manager John Russell, who caught against Marzano in the early '90s, and also developed a friendship during Russell's tenure within the Phillies organization. Russell spent the last two seasons managing in Philadelphia's farm system.
"That hit me pretty good," Russell said of Marzano's death. "[Philadelphia] is where we originally met, and then I had seen him off and on since he's been announcing and doing other things. It was awful to see."
Marzano passed away at his home in Philadelphia after reportedly falling down a flight of stairs after having a heart attack. He was 45.
The Philadelphia native spent parts of 10 years playing in the big leagues before transitioning into a career as a baseball analyst. Marzano was in his second year of working as a co-host of "Leading Off" on MLB.com each weekday morning.
"He loved playing," Russell said, "and he really loved doing what he's doing now."
Marzano is survived by a wife, two daughters and two grandchildren.
"We always got along," Russell added. "He was always upbeat. It was sad. It was a shock."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.