LOS ANGELES, May 1 (Reuters) - Former U.S. baseball star Jose Canseco said on Thursday he had lost his California mansion to foreclosure -- one of the first celebrities to publicly admit being a statistic in the U.S. housing crisis.
Canseco, 43, one of the most flamboyant U.S. baseball players until his retirement from the major leagues in 2001, told the celebrity TV show "Inside Edition" that it did not make financial sense to keep his 7,300 square-foot home in the Los Angeles suburb of Encino.
"Inside Edition" said it had foreclosure documents showing Canseco owed a bank more than $2.5 million on the house.
"I've been out of the game for about eight or nine years and obviously this issue with the foreclosure on my home," he told "Inside Edition".
"I do have a judgment on my home and it to me is very strange because it didn't make financial sense for me to keep paying a mortgage on a home that was basically owned by someone else," he said.
Canseco said the foreclosure was not a difficult issue emotionally. But he sympathized with the millions of other Americans who have already lost, or face losing their homes, because of soaring interest rates on sub-prime loans.
"I decided to just let it go, but in most cases and most families, they have nowhere else to go," he said.
It was not clear from the "Inside Edition" report where Canseco was now living.
U.S. home foreclosure filings jumped 23 percent in the first quarter of 2008 from the prior quarter and more than doubled from a year earlier, real estate data firm RealtyTrac reported this week.
Canseco was one of the first Major League Baseball players to admit using steroids in his tell-all 2005 book "Juiced." His personal life has also been controversial with two divorces and several run-ins with the law for violence.
Canseco said a good portion of the money he earned in his heyday went to pay for his divorces. "I had a couple of divorces that cost me $7 or $8 million," he said.
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Sandra Maler)