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Jose Fernandez’s Pregnant Girlfriend, Maria Arias, Attends Funeral in First Public Appearance Since His Death

No words. José Fernández’s pregnant girlfriend, Maria Arias, made her first public appearance since the Miami Marlins pitcher’s death, attending his funeral on Wednesday, September 28.

Maria Arias, Jose Fernandez girlfriend
Maria Arias, girlfriend of Jose Fernandez, on September 28, 2016 in Miami.

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Dressed in black, with her growing baby bump on display, Arias joined Fernández’s family, including his mother and grandmother, at the memorial service at La Ermita de la Caridad in Coconut Grove, Florida.

As Us Weekly previously reported, the MLB star and two friends died in the early hours of Sunday, September 25, when his boat crashed into a jetty near Miami Beach, Florida. The Cuban-born athlete was 24.

Jose Fernandez
Starting pitcher Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins watches from the dugout during the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on July 22, 2015 in Phoenix, AZ.

The funeral procession made a number of stops on Wednesday as family, friends and fans gathered to pay their respects to Fernández.

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The pitcher’s fellow teammates walked along the procession and kept their hands on the hearse as it made its way through a crowd chanting “José! José!”

It made a stop in the Cuban American suburb of Westchester, where thousands waited to pay tribute, and outside La Carreta, a Cuban restaurant Fernández used to visit before games, according to USA Today.

At the church in Coconut Grove, Fernández’s mother, Maritza, and grandmother Olga wept as they leaned over his casket and kissed it, the Miami Herald reports. Family members then draped his 2016 All-Star Game jersey over the casket, with his number — 16 — facing up.

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Fernández had learned the sex of his unborn child in early August, when Arias presented him with a gender-reveal cake at a family dinner. In a video posted on Facebook by her father, Orlando A. Sanfiel, the athlete could be seen excitedly cutting a wedge of the cake to reveal pink inside. They were having a girl and Fernández clapped his hands in excitement, exclaiming, “I knew it!” as his girlfriend smiled by his side. The Miami Herald reports that the couple had met through Arias’ sister, who is married to one of Fernández’s best friends.

One of the Marlins star’s final Instagram posts featured a picture of his pregnant girlfriend cradling her belly. “I’m so glad you came into my life,” he captioned the black-and-white pic. “I’m ready for where this journey is gonna take us together. #familyfirst.”

A day after his death, Fernández’s ex-fiancée, Carla Mendoza, offered her support to Arias in an Instagram post.

“The heartbreak is unbearable. There was so much more to him than anyone could even begin to understand,” wrote Mendoza, who dated Fernández for three years before they split earlier this year.

“Nothing will make this time easy for anyone and if you do one thing today, let it be that you tell those close to you how much you love them,” the Marlins cheerleader, 24, continued. “Not one day will pass by that I don’t think about him or love him. Jose never went one moment without knowing how much support and love he had from those close to him. My heart goes out to Maria, as she is expecting his child. Please honor Jose’s memory by respecting his daughter and her mother as I’m sure this is all too painful for her as well.”

Fernández’s friends Emilio Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25, were also killed in the accident on Sunday. The investigation into what caused the crash is ongoing.

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