Police have rescued Washington Nationals baseball star Wilson Ramos two days after he was kidnapped, Venezuelan authorities said.
Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said on state television that Ramos was "safe and sound".
Information Minister Andres Izarra said it was "a rescue operation by air", which was authorised earlier in the day by President Hugo Chavez. "Ramos free!," said one message on Izarra's Twitter account. State television reported that three men were arrested in the kidnapping.
Ramos' mother celebrated, exclaiming on television: "Thanks to God!" She added: "Thanks to my country, to my neighbours and to my family, who were supporting us."
Armed men seized Ramos at gunpoint on Wednesday night outside his home in a working-class neighbourhood in the city of Valencia. On Thursday, authorities said they had found a stolen SUV used by the kidnappers abandoned in a nearby town.
The abduction was the first known kidnapping of a major league baseball player in a country that has dozens of players on big league rosters in the US, and it brought a renewed focus on worsening violent crime in Venezuela.
Security has increasingly become a concern for Venezuelan players and their families as a wave of kidnappings has hit the wealthy as well as the middle class.
Bodyguards typically shadow major leaguers when they return to their homeland to play in Venezuela's winter baseball league, but it was unclear what precautions, if any, Ramos was taking while at his family's home.
Major League Baseball officials said it was the first kidnapping of a major leaguer that they could recall.
Fans in both Venezuela and Washington had held candlelight vigils and prayed for his safe release.