LOS ANGELES — Jose Lima lived over the top on and off the baseball field. The free-spirited pitcher could deliver a song as well as a fastball, leaving a trail of fun and laughter known as "Lima Time" wherever he went.

LOS ANGELES — Jose Lima lived over the top on and off the baseball field. The free-spirited pitcher could deliver a song as well as a fastball, leaving a trail of fun and laughter known as "Lima Time" wherever he went.

The All-Star right-hander who spent 13 years in the major leagues died Sunday, according to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was 37.

Lima, who pitched the Dodgers to their first playoff win in 16 years in 2004, died of an apparent heart attack in Los Angeles, according to the Aguilas Cibaenas, a winter ball team that Lima had played for in the Dominican Republic.

"Lima was an exceptional man. This is a great loss for Dominican baseball and the country," team president Winston Llenas said.

Lima posted his best season with the Houston Astros in 1999 when he was selected to the All-Star game. He went 21-10 with a 3.58 ERA in 35 starts for the NL Central champions.

"It saddened me greatly to hear of Jose's passing," Astros owner Drayton McLane said. "He was truly a gifted person both on the field and off of it. He could dance, he could sing, but his best gift of all was that he was an extremely happy person. He just lit up our clubhouse with his personality, which was his greatest asset. Jose was not shortchanged in life in any way. He lived life to the fullest every day."

Lima spent the majority of his career in Houston, compiling a 46-42 record from 1997-2001.

"He was an animated guy and a fierce competitor and he got people excited," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "It's just so sad when you lose one of your peers."

Lima revived his career several times, bouncing between the independent league and the minors. The Dominican pitcher was 89-102 with a 5.26 ERA in 348 games in the majors, with his last appearance a four-game stint with the New York Mets in 2006.

Popular with fans and animated on the mound, his merengue music became a familiar fixture in the Astros clubhouse.