Rockies president found dead in hotel room

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By James Nelson

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Reuters) - Colorado Rockies baseball team President Keli McGregor was found dead in a downtown Salt Lake City hotel room on Tuesday morning, and police said it appears he died of natural causes.

Business colleagues found the 48-year-old McGregor unconscious in his hotel room after they had tried unsuccessfully to reach him, said city Police Detective Rick Wall. Emergency responders were unable to revive him.

"Our first responders did not see anything that indicated foul play," said Wall, adding that police have not found anything suspicious and that it appeared the baseball executive died of natural causes.

McGregor was on a business trip with Rockies Chairman and Chief Executive Charlie Monfort and Executive Vice President Greg Feasel. The team is trying to boost fan interest in Utah, which does not have a Major League team.

"Words cannot describe the level of shock and disbelief that we all are feeling this morning at the loss of Keli," Monfort said in a statement.

"Our thoughts, our prayers are with (his wife) Lori and the entire family as we all try to cope and understand how such a tragic loss could occur with such a wonderful man."

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said the sport will miss McGregor, who had been associated with Rockies organization for nearly two decades.

"I am very saddened by the sudden and unexpected passing of Keli McGregor," he said in a statement. "As president of the Colorado Rockies, Keli was one of our game's rising young stars."

McGregor and other Rockies officials were in town on baseball business, the team said.

"The Rockies are trying to increase their brand in Utah. They consider themselves a regional team," said Salt Lake Tribune sports writer Martin Renzhofer.

Renzhofer said the Rockies executives were looking for ways to tap into the Utah market and added Monfort is a graduate of the University of Utah.

McGregor "was always friendly. Always accessible," said Renzhofer.

McGregor was staying at the Grand America, a hotel often used by professional athletes, sports teams, politicians and company executives when they visit Salt Lake City.

He is survived by his wife and their four children.

The Utah State Medical Examiners office is now handling the investigation.

(Editing by Philip Barbara)