Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant’s bodies have been released by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office to the Bryant family, Us Weekly can confirm.
The remains of the late Los Angeles Lakers legend and his 13-year-old child, who died in a helicopter crash on January 26, were released on Saturday, February 2, after officials determined their identities and official cause of death, which was listed as blunt force trauma.
The NBA All Star, 41, Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan, 50, and Sarah Chester, 45, were identified through fingerprints on January 28. Gianna, Gianna’s teammate Alyssa Altobelli, 14, her mother, Keri Altobelli, 46, basketball coach Christina Mauser, 38, and family friend Payton Chester, 13, were identified two days later through “round-the-clock testing and analysis of DNA,” the coroner’s office told Us.
All nine victims lost their lives on January 26 when the private helicopter they were traveling in crashed into a Calabasas, California, hillside. The coroner’s office confirmed to Us that all victims’ remains have been released to their families, except for the Altobelli family.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident, which an official described as a “high energy impact crash” in a press conference on January 28. A preliminary report from the NTSB will be released in five days.
Bryant and Gianna are survived by his wife and her mother, Vanessa Bryant, and the couple’s daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.
Vanessa broke her silence on the accident on January 29 in a moving tribute she posted to Instagram.
“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them,” the mother of four, who married Kobe in 2001, wrote. “We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately.”
The NBA superstar has been honored by fans, family and friends since his passing, including a special tribute dedicated to Kobe at the Lakers’ first game since his death on Friday, January 31.
The night of remembrance began with powerful performances from Usher, who sang “Amazing Grace,” and Boyz II Men, who performed a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“We’re all grieving,” the Lakers forward, 35, said. “We’re all hurt. We’re all heartbroken. But when we’re going through things like this, the best thing you can do is lean on the shoulders of your family.”
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