The remaining five victims of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant have been identified by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, including the NBA legend’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
The coroner’s office confirmed to Us Weekly late Wednesday, January 29, that after “round-the-clock testing and analysis of DNA,” it identified Gianna, Gianna’s basketball teammate Alyssa Altobelli, 14, and her mother, Keri Altobelli, 46, basketball coach Christina Mauser, 38, and family friend Payton Chester, 13. The department said it had “notified [the victims’] legal next of kin” before publicly sharing the news.
The L.A. coroner previously released the IDs of Bryant, 41, pilot Ara Zobayan, 50, Alyssa’s father, John Altobelli, 56, and Payton’s mother, Sarah Chester, 45, on Tuesday, January 28. The four victims were identified by their fingerprints.
The department determined that the cause of death for all nine people was blunt trauma, and the manner of death was certified as an accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the accident, which occurred in the Calabasas neighborhood of L.A. on Sunday, January 26, and claimed the lives of everyone on board.
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, 37, broke her silence on the tragedy via Instagram on Wednesday, writing, “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. 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 former model, who married the late Los Angeles Lakers player in 2001, told her 6.7 million Instagram followers that she takes “comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved.”
“We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon,” she continued. “I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever. Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality.”
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Vanessa also announced that she is launching the MambaOnThree Fund “to help support the other families affected by this tragedy.”
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