UPDATE: (1/28/20, 6:27 pm ET) — The bodies of all nine victims that died in the Calabasas helicopter crash on Jan. 26 have been recovered, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office announced. Three of these bodies were recovered on the day of the crash. While the LA coroner’s office has not yet released an official list of names, relatives and co-workers have come forward to reveal that the people on-board the helicopter were NBA star Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, her teammates Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, fellow parents John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli and Sarah Chester, assistant basketball coach Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan.
UPDATE: (1/28/20, 12:05 am ET) — Kobe’s former team the Los Angeles Lakers released their first official statement about the loss of their legendary player. “On behalf of everyone at the Los Angeles Lakers, we would like to thank you for your sympathy and support during this devastating time. We appreciate your respect and understanding as we continue to support the Bryant family, and will share more information as it is available. Thank you, Los Angeles Lakers.”
UPDATE: (1/27/20, 9:40 am ET)— All of the passengers were aboard the ill-fated helicopter that crashed yesterday in Calabasas, CA have been identified. Their names: Kobe Bryant (41), Gianna Bryant (13), John Altobelli (56), his wife Keri Altobelli, his daughter Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, her daughter Payton Chester (13), Christina Mauser, and the pilot, Ara Zobayan.
UPDATE: (1/26/20, 9:40 pm ET) — Four other passengers who perished in the crash have been identified, at this time. Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach at at Harbor Day School in Corona Del Mar, California, has been dead by her husband Matt Mauser, via Facebook. Oange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, his daughter Alyssa Altobelli and wife Keri Altobelli were ALSO aboard the helicopter with Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, according to CNN.
UPDATE: (1/26/20, 6:15 pm ET) — NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the news of Kobe’s passing with the following statement:
“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.
“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary…But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.”
UPDATE: (1/26/20, 5:40 pm ET) — John Altobelli, a baseball coach at Orange Coast College, was another passenger who died in the crash, TMZ Sports reports. The Sheriff also confirmed that nine people died in total during the crash — the pilot plus eight passengers.
UPDATE: (1/26/20, 4:10 pm ET) — Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was on the helicopter with Kobe when it crashed and has also been confirmed dead by Kobe’s reps, TMZ Sports reported. They were apparently on their way to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, CA for a basketball practice when the crash occurred.
Kobe Bryant, 41, died after a helicopter he was on crashed in Calabasas, CA on the morning of Jan. 26, the city of Calabasas confirmed on Twitter. The professional basketball player was traveling with at least three other people on the private chopper, which belonged to him, when it went down and a fire broke out. Although emergency personnel responded to the scene, sadly none of the people on board survived, the outlet reported. There are five people confirmed dead. Kobe’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, 37, was not on board at the time of the crash. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Although the helicopter crash that took Kobe’s life is heartbreaking, this isn’t the first time the former Los Angeles Lakers player has used a helicopter as a way of traveling. He was known for riding in helicopters for years, including times when he would travel in his Sikorsky S-76 chopper from Newport Beach, CA to the STAPLES Center in downtown Los Angeles to play in the Lakers games.
Shortly after news of Kobe’s death made its way to the public, many celebrities took to social media to express their thoughts and condolences. Cardi B was among one of the first to react. “F*ckin terrible,” she tweeted. Khloe Kardashian also couldn’t help but tweet multiple times. “This can’t be real, there’s no way!!! My heart hurts,” one of her tweets read. “Please don’t let this be True. I’m shaking,” her second read. Justin Bieber took to Instagram to share a photo of himself posing with Kobe when he was younger and captioned it with a sweet message. “It can’t be. You always encouraged me mamba. Gave me me some of the best quotes that we smile about to this day.! Love you man!” it read.
Kobe, who is considered to be one of the greatest NBA players of all time, is survived by his wife Vanessa, whom he married in 2001, and three of their four daughters, including Natalia, 17, Bianca, 3, and seven-month-old baby Capri.
It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Kobe Bryant and four others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. The aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 this morning. Nobody on the ground was hurt. The FAA and NTSB are investigating.
— City of Calabasas (@CityofCalabasas) January 26, 2020
Before his tragic death, Kobe made a lasting impact in the sport of basketball, especially during his 20 years of playing for the Lakers. He made 18 All-Star teams and was a first-round pick in the 1996 draft. He went on to win 5 NBA championships, 2 NBA Finals MVPs, and was a the league MVP in 2008. He was also the only player in the Lakers team history to have two of his jerseys, including number 8 and 24, retired. Fellow player LeBron James, 3, who joined the Lakers in 2018, passed Kobe’s third spot on the all-time scoring list one day before the legend’s death during a game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 25.
Our comfort and healing wishes go out to all those affected by Kobe’s death.
We’ll be updating this story as more details emerge…