Red Sox Nation is mourning the loss of adored former pitcher Tim Wakefield, who lost his battle with brain cancer on Sunday morning at the age of 57.

Before Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy took questions at Boston’s end-of-season press conference at Fenway Park on Monday, he sent a message to the fans.

“Losing an icon like Tim Wakefield is an incredibly difficult thing,” Kennedy said. “We feel your pain and we’re really sorry for your loss.”

Kennedy acknowledged some of the Red Sox staff that had been supporting the Wakefield family since the organization found out about the diagnosis.

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Like many before him, Kennedy also reflected on a specific memory of his time with Wakefield.

“I remember the first time I was privileged to spend a significant amount of time with him,” Kennedy recalled. “It was on a team charter in 2002 when we went from Atlanta out to San Diego. It was June of 2002 and he asked me all about the Father’s Day catch on the field and he wanted to know what went into it, and why we did it … how it happened because no one was ever allowed on the field at Fenway Park. And it just struck me, ‘Boy, this is a regular guy.’ But we all know he was anything but regular.”

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Kennedy explained Wakefield’s genuine curiosity about the ballpark, the team, the business of baseball, the community work and everything that went into running the Red Sox right until the end of his life.

“I think back in our time here and the history of the Red Sox,” Kennedy said. “I’m not sure there’s a player that has been more active or involved with every area of the operation, players, front office member, broadcaster, community leader.”

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On Sunday, following the Red Sox’s finale against the Baltimore Orioles, game planning coordinator and catching coach Jason Varitek had a hard time articulating what Wakefield meant to him and his teammates.

“I don’t know if I need to say anything. I think I’m showing it,” Varitek said through tears. “I’ve always said it, Wake exemplifies what this uniform is. And it’s not just in the name on the back — it’s the name on the front.”

Kennedy thanks Varitek for his words.

“You said it perfectly yesterday on behalf of everybody,” Kennedy said. “Som thank you Tek for expressing to everyone what Wake meant to all of us.”

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Kennedy did say the Red Sox will find a way to pay tribute to Wakefield next season.

“It would be great to have a way to celebrate Wake where we can have all the fans who loved him as much as we did, participate and be a part of it,” Kennedy said. “… I think that we’ll hopefully be able to do something where everybody gets to feel a part of it.”

Featured image via Tom R. Smedes/Special to RGJ via Imagn Content Services / USA Today Sports Images