WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Minnesota Twins prospect Ryan Costello has been found dead in his Auckland hotel room days after joining the Auckland Tuatara in the Australian Baseball League.

The 23-year-old third baseman died in his sleep, apparently of natural causes, on Monday morning, team officials said.

"It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Auckland Tuatara third baseman Ryan Costello overnight in Auckland," read a statement released by his team in Tuatara, New Zealand.  "Costello, a 23-year-old prospect within the Minnesota Twins organisation, arrived in Auckland last week to play his first season with the Tuatara and was expected to have a major role with the side. Preliminary indications suggest he died of natural causes."

The statement said Costello's teammates were "naturally devastated" by the news. Concerns were raised when Costello failed to report for training Monday morning, days ahead of the Tuatara's opening game of the 2019-2020 ABL season.

Costello was traded to Minnesota last year as part of a deal that sent Zach Duke to the Seattle Mariners.

"The Minnesota Twins are deeply saddened to learn of the untimely passing of Ryan Costello yesterday in New Zealand," said a statement from the Minnesota Twins released Monday morning. "On behalf of the entire organization, the Twins send their most sincere condolences to Ryan’s family, friends, coaches and teammates." 

Costello split the 2019 season between Single-A Ft. Myers and Double-A Pensacola, playing in 108 games.

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, he played minor leagues for the Clinton Lumberjacks and later for the Fort Myers Miracle during their 2018 championship run.

In an interview with Twins Daily in October, 2018, Costello said his greatest strength is "my ability to stay positive through tough times and understand that it's part of the game and ups and downs are going to come."

He spoke of his desire to spend time with family after his first professional season in 2019.

"My dad has a bass boat and has had it since I was a kid," he told Twins Daily. "The first thing we do when I go home is go fishing.

"I've been home for seven days, I've been out fishing about four of those days. I live about five minutes from a river, the Connecticut River, so we go fishing on the river a lot."

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