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Former Padres, Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers dies at 56

Sporting News logo Sporting News 1/30/2018 Marc Lancaster

a man wearing a suit and tie: Kevin Towers © (Getty Images) Kevin Towers Kevin Towers, a longtime baseball executive who assembled playoff teams in San Diego and Arizona, has died of cancer at age 56, USA Today first reported.

Towers was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in December 2016. His condition was not publicly known until Astros manager A.J. Hinch honored him during MLB's "Stand Up to Cancer" salute during last year's World Series.

Towers served as general manager of the Padres from 1996-2009 and the Diamondbacks from 2010-14. His San Diego teams reached the playoffs four times, including the 1998 World Series against the Yankees, and the D-backs went from worst to first in the NL West in his first two years there.

Towers began his baseball career as a pitcher in the Padres farm system but never reached the majors. He stayed with the organization as a minor league coach and scout, eventually ascending to the GM job

Known around the game as "Gunslinger," Towers was always ready to talk trades with his counterparts and had a reputation as one of the more popular executives in the game.

"He means a lot to me. He means a lot to the people within the game for many, many years," Hinch said of Towers in October, via the Houston Chronicle. "He's done everything in the game. I wanted to put someone on (the "Stand Up to Cancer" salute) that was a baseball person that has resonated across the game at so many levels for so many years, and we just keep rooting for KT to have a recovery."

Related slideshow: Notable sports deaths of 2018 (Provided by photo services)

Infielder Ed Charles #5 of the New York Mets makes a throw to first base against the Baltimore Orioles during a world series game circa October 1969 at Shea Stadium In Queens, New York. The Mets won the Series 4 games to 1. Notable sports deaths of 2018

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