Basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday morning on the way to a basketball game. While the public rightfully mourns the loss of the sporting great and his child, they were sadly not the only victims. In fact, there were nine people in total on board, all of whom lost their lives, and their names have finally been released.
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John Altobelli was 56. Altobelli was a baseball coach at Orange Coast College and had been a longtime friend of Bryant’s. “John meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball,” the school’s athletic director Jason Kehler said in a statement. “He truly personified what it means to be a baseball coach. The passion that he put into the game, but more importantly his athletes, was second to none — he treated them like family.”
Keri Altobelli, John’s wife, was also killed. As was their daughter Alyssa, who is also believed to have been 13 and played on the same basketball team as Gianna.
Christina Mauser was a basketball coach at Gianna’s school. Mauser worked at the nearby Harbor Day School, which Gigi attended. Christina’s husband, Matt Mauser, wrote on Facebook, “My kids and I are devastated. We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash. Please respect our privacy. Thank you for all the well wishes they mean so much.”
Middle schooler Payton Chester and her mother Sarah Chester were also on board. Payton played basketball with Gianna and was also headed to the Black Mamba Academy with her mom. Her brother Riley posted a tribute to Payton on Instagram after the accident, writing, “Rest In Peace to the most amazing Mother and sister. I love you Pay Pay and Mom RIP.”
Ara Zaboyan was the pilot. While he attempted to navigate heavy fog that made it impossible to see, unfortunately the inclement weather made landing safely impossible and the helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain despite his best efforts. May all of the victims rest in peace.
It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of Orange Coast College head baseball coach John Altobelli. He was a coach, a colleague, a mentor and a friend at OCC for 27 years.
— Orange Coast College (@orangecoast) January 26, 2020
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I’m stunned. Words can’t even come close to describing it. Just an incredibly sad and tragic day.
— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) January 26, 2020
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