One of Kobe Bryant’s four daughters was on the private helicopter with her father that crashed in Calabasas, California, on Sunday, January 26, killing all on board.
TMZ reports that 13-year-old Gianna, Bryant’s second child with wife Vanessa Bryant, died in the fiery crash on Sunday.
The outlet reports that they were on their way to Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks for basketball practice when the crash happened.
The NBA legend was traveling with eight other people on his private helicopter when a fire broke out, according to TMZ. Authorities said in a press conference on Sunday afternoon that nine people were killed in the crash. Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Kerri, and daughter Alyssa, also died in the accident, Altobelli’s brother Tony told CNN.
KTLA reports that the aircraft crashed on a hillside and burst into flames, killing everyone on board on Sunday at about 10 a.m. The crash started a brush fire that made it difficult for firefighters and paramedics to get to the scene, a watch commander for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told the Los Angeles Times.
Kobe and his wife Vanessa, who wed in 2001, shared four daughters, Natalia, 17, Gianna, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.
The 18-time All-Star, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers for his entire 20-year career, retired from the sport in 2016. In addition to his many post-NBA projects, he was also a coach for Gianna’s middle school team.
“It’s been fun!” he told Entertainment Tonight in 2018 of mentoring his daughter and her team. “We’ve been working together for a year and a half and they’ve improved tremendously in that time. I’ve got a group of great parents, a group of really, really intelligent, hardworking girls, and — they’re all seventh graders, they’re all 12 years old — but they’ve been playing so well!”
The doting dad admitted that he loved spending extra time with his daughter.
“Gianna’s pretty easy to coach,” he said. “We haven’t had any issues of dad-daughter sort of thing. She’s very competitive and she’s a hard worker, so there haven’t been any issues with that.”
He told pal and former NBA player Reggie Miller in 2018 that Gianna was “hellbent” on playing basketball for the University of Connecticut’s Huskies.
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