LAKELAND, Fla. -- Jamie Hildreth, a member of the Astros' front office for the last 30 years, died suddenly on Friday night in West Palm Beach, Fla. He was 72 years old.
Hildreth, who most recently served as the Astros' senior vice president of broadcasting and alumni relations, joined the club in 1987 as director of broadcasting. In his three decades with the team, Hildreth worked in sales, sponsorship and broadcasting.
Hildreth's good nature and infectious personality helped him develop lasting relationships with generations of Astros broadcasters, players, front-office staff, sponsors, fans and media members.
"Words cannot express how shocked and devastated all of us are right now," Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan said in a statement. "Jamie gave so much of himself to the Astros organization, and was loved and respected by so many in the Astros family and beyond. He had the unique ability to light up a room, no matter where he was. He was one of those people that, no matter where he may be, someone would recognize him and come over to say, 'Hello.' He truly was a special, one-of-a-kind individual and will be greatly missed. This is a very difficult time for us. We are in mourning over the loss of a very, very special man."
Prior to joining the Astros, Hildreth had a successful career in radio -- which included stops at KRBE and KTRH in Houston and KTRM/KALO in Beaumont, Texas. He was nominated in 2014 for induction into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. Also in 2014, Hildreth received the Fred Hartman Award for long and meritorious service, given annually by the Houston Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Houston, majoring in radio and television.
"Jamie was a vital part of the Astros organization for over three decades," Astros owner Jim Crane said in a statement. "His knowledge of the industry and great ability to connect with people were invaluable. He has left an indelible mark on those of us that were fortunate to work with him. We send our deepest condolences to his many friends and family members."
Hildreth is survived by his wife, Theresa, two sons, Jeff and Shane, and five grandchildren: Hayward, John, Alexandra, Audrey and James. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the Astros Foundation in his honor.
The Astros Foundation will create an annual scholarship in Hildreth's memory for a student to attend the University of Houston for broadcasting.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.