Vera Clemente, humanitarian and widow of Pirates legend Roberto Clemente, dies

Vera Clemente
Vera Clemente, widow of Roberto Clemente, receives the commissioner of baseball’s historic achievement award at the 2006 All Star Game in Pittsburgh.
(Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)

Vera Clemente, the widow of Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente and a goodwill ambassador for Major League Baseball, has died. She was 78.

MLB and the Pittsburgh Pirates announced her death Saturday. She died in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Vera Clemente, the MLB said, had health issues recently. The Pittsburgh Pirates tweeted on Nov. 1 that she had been hospitalized.

Vera and Roberto Clemente were married in November 1964, according to the Roberto Clemente Foundation. Roberto Clemente was a 15-time All-Star with the Pirates. He was killed in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.


Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Vera Clemente “impacted countless children and extended her family’s humanitarian legacy of helping those in need.”

Vera Clemente served as the chairwoman for the foundation, which works “to promote positive change and community engagement through the example and inspiration of Roberto.”

She is survived by three sons, Roberto Jr., Luis and Enrique; and several grandchildren.


Pirates owner Bob Nutting called Vera Clemente “a cherished member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Major League Baseball family.” He said she “epitomized grace, dignity and strength in the wake of heartbreaking tragedy and loss.”

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