HOLIDAY, Fla. -- Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay was killed Tuesday in a small plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico off Pasco County, the Sheriff's Office confirmed.

Halladay, 40, won 203 games in his 16-year career, losing 105, and he won the Cy Young Award in 2003 with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Pasco Sheriff's Office Marine Unit responded to the small aircraft down in the Gulf, north of Bailey's Bluff in Holiday.

Sheriff Chris Nocco said the plane was an ICON A-5, single-engine plane. The Sheriff's Office said it received the call just after noon Tuesday.  

Halladay was the only person on the plane, Nocco said.

A resident called authorities about the plane crash.

Nocco said Halladay was a friend to the Sheriff's Office and called him "down to earth." He asked residents to respect the family's privacy and stay away from the home.

"He loved to fly," Nocco said of Halladay. "He loved talking about baseball, he loved talking about flying. He was one of the nicest human beings."

Witnesses described the plane flying low.

"From my house to the top of the trees, (the plane) went past a little ways over the trees, hung a left and then tilted to the left into the water," Michael Lennon said.

Leslie Southard said smoke was coming out of the engines.

"(It was) flying really low, and you could just tell it was going down," she said of the plane.

Marcie Delgado launched her kayak after hearing what happened.

"There were a lot of boats there, way before I was. So, I hope that they were able to help people," Delgado said.

Halladay made his Major League debut in 1998 with Toronto at the age of 21.

He was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies' National League East-winning teams in 2010 and 2011, throwing a no-hitter in the 2010 playoffs against the Cincinnati Reds.

Halladay went 3-2 with a 2.37 ERA in five postseason starts. He retired after the 2013 season.