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Three weeks out of prison, Elijah Dukes' father dies of cancer

Dec 9, 2009, 3:56 PM EDT

It’s a pretty horrible story, one we might be hearing about more in future weeks.
According to the Washington Post, Elijah “David” Dukes Sr. died Nov. 23, just three weeks after being released following a 14-year sentence for murder. The 43-year-old fell ill after his release and was quickly diagnosed with cancer, which went undetected in prison.
The younger Dukes, of course, has had a history of run-ins with the law, though he’s stayed out of off-field troubles in the two years since being acquired by the Nationals. Getting out of his hometown of Tampa has likely helped in that regard, though he still lives there in the offseason. He was playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic when discovering the news about his father. He was able to head home and spend some time with him before he passed.
“It hit him hard,” said manager Jim Riggleman said, “because Elijah was really looking forward to his father seeing him play — and then after a few weeks, he’s gone.”
Dukes, who will probably be the Nationals’ starting right fielder next season, was expected to return to winter ball this week.

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