Longtime Los Angeles Angels team physician and noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum died Saturday in Southern California at the age of 65. He lost a very private battle with liver cancer. Yocum was considered a leading expert on Tommy John surgery, a procedure which involves replacing a ligament in the elbow with a tendon from elsewhere in the body.

He was in his 36th season with the Angels when he passed. The team said the players noticed Yocum was not there for their physicals in mid-February, but always just assumed he'd return soon. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Angels organization did not know the severity of Yocum's condition until earlier this month when the Angels training room was dedicated to him.

"That was the first time he opened up," said Tim Mead, Angels vice president of communications. "I'm not sure anyone really knew outside of his family. He was a very proud man, and fiercely private."

Yocum is credited with salvaging the careers of some of baseball's biggest stars, and the sports world won't soon forget him. Most recently, his pitching patients included Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, and John Lackey.

"The Angels family and Major League Baseball have lost one of baseball's finest gentlemen and truly outstanding professionals with the passing of Dr. Lewis Yocum earlier this weekend," the team said in a statement. "His talents extended the careers of countless professional athletes and provided extended quality of life for so many others he advised, treated, and operated on during his distinguished career."

In statements today, players, coaches, fellow surgeons, and even Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig paid tribute to Dr. Yocum, whose legacy will remain with those who he quietly and humbly helped have lengthy and prosperous careers. Here are some tributes to Dr. Yocum:

"Lewis Yocum was a giant in the field of sports medicine. He was an invaluable resource to not only the Angels franchise but players throughout all of Major League Baseball, team physicians and the members of the Professional Baseball Athletics Trainers Society. All of our clubs relied upon Dr. Yocum's trusted opinion and judgment." - Bud Selig, MLB Commissioner

"He obviously saved my career. I wouldn't be here without him." - Jordan Zimmerman, Pitcher, Washington Nationals

"[Yocum] didn't like being in the newspaper, he didn't like being in the limelight, because I just believe he was so humble. He was such a gentleman." - Rick Smith, Athletic Trainer, Los Angeles Angels

"He was on the front lines of sports medicine. He wasn't looking for publicity. He just wanted to do a good job and make things better." - Dr. Frank Jobe, world-renowned orthopedist

"Dr. Yocum was a caring genius who had a profound impact on the game and its players. His plaque in the hall awaits." - Scott Boras, sports agent

"When you think about baseball medicine and how far we've come in injury prevention and surgeries, you think of Dr. Yocum. It's a sad day." -Jake Peavy, Pitcher, Chicago White Sox