ST. LOUIS–The University of Missouri is mourning the death of Brian DeLunas, the pitching coach for the Tigers baseball team, who died Monday night. DeLunas, who grew up in the Oakville area, had long battled kidney disease. He was 46 years old.

DeLunas had returned to Columbia for what was supposed to be his second stint with the baseball program. He was a volunteer assistant from 2007-2009, and was coming back to MU after spending last season in a special projects role with the New York Mets. He had been a bullpen coach and director of pitching development and strategies for the Seattle Mariners prior to that.

“Words cannot describe how heartbroken we are in the loss of our friend, Brian DeLunas,” head coach Steve Bieser said in a statement. “In the months since his return to Mizzou, he has made an indelible impact on our team through his love of the game and his players along with his inspirational courage off the field. Brian was a tremendous husband, father, brother and coach, and our hearts go out to Johannah, Rory, Maren and the entire DeLunas family as we ask everyone to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

“No words can describe our loss today. Great friend and coach but even a better man. His legacy will live in our program forever,” Bieser tweeted.

DeLunas had the chance to work with his nephew, fellow South County native Austin Cheeley, who had just transferred to the program.

“Amazing Uncle, and an even better coach. Happy to have gotten the chance to play for him for even just a short period. The world lost a truly amazing baseball mind way too soon,” Cheeley also shared on social media.

DeLunas played his college ball at Missouri Baptist University. After college, he went on to co-found Premier Pitching and Development, based in St. Charles County, which works with college and professional pitchers.