ST. LOUIS — The world continues to mourn the loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others who were killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California Sunday morning.
Also on board were Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, his wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa. That's according to Altobelli's brother, Tony Altobelli, who is the sports information director at the college. Alyssa was about 13 and played on the same basketball team as Bryant's daughter.
Christina Mauser, a girls basketball coach, has also been identified as one of the victims.
The helicopter was flying in foggy conditions considered dangerous enough that local police agencies grounded their choppers.
The Associated Press reports that according to data from Flightradar24, the helicopter was flying at about 184 mph and descending at over 4,000 feet per minute when it crashed.
Many St. Louis area athletes have taken to social media to share their condolences.
Saint Louis University basketball coach Travis Ford told 5 On Your Side he first heard the news just minutes before his team’s game on Sunday. Ford was visibly choked up at the press conference.
“Kobe Bryant – just wanted to say it’s a tragic day for the game of basketball… I heard about it before I went out and it threw me for a loop. That’s all I could think about. And we said a prayer for him and his family. It just doesn’t seem real.”
Chaminade graduate and current Boston Celtics player, Jayson Tatum wrote, “Nooooooo cmon someone say it ain’t true... I’m sick to my stomach right now.”
Later in the day, Tatum posted to Instagram calling Bryant "the reason I started to play this game, the reason I fell in love with this game."
Fellow Chaminade grad and current Washington Wizards player, Bradley Beal also reacted to the shocking news on Twitter, writing, “God, we ALL need you!”
Beal played against Bryant before Bryant retired in 2016. He shared a photo of the two from that game on his Instagram with the caption, “Really don’t know how to feel! Speechless, numb, hurt, etc. no words can mount to the pain! But your passion, dedication, (MAMBA) mentality, love and knowledge both on and off the floor were exemplar! For that, I smile knowing you left an unbelievable mark on this game and in my life! Thank you for paving the way. PEACE and BLESSINGS to the families involved and affected by this tragedy. God be with us ALL!”
Another Chaminade grad and current Cleveland Cavaliers player, Tyler Cook wrote on Twitter, “I’m sick right now man. Kobe really made feel like I could do anything. That I could control how great I want my life to be. Completely heart broken. Praying for his family and the family of the others involved.”
CBC player and UNC commit Caleb Love took to Twitter in the early moments of the news, “This news gotta be fake!” He wrote. Shortly after, “Kobe really gone man… I’m lost for words.”
Albert Pujols shared a photo of him and Kobe on Instagram with the caption, “Wow what a loss for us all. I enjoyed the times I was able to connect with Kobe over the years. My prayers go out to his beautiful family.”
Webster Groves grad and NBA skills coach, Drew Hanlen shared photos of his workout with Tatum and Bryant on Twitter and wrote, “The basketball world lost one of its best players, best minds and best ambassadors today, but more importantly the world lost a great person that constantly gave back and tried to inspire everyone he could. Gone way too soon. Prayers up to him, his daughter and his family.”
Saint Louis University High School basketball coach and former Billiken, Erwin Claggett wrote, “King Kobe Bean Bryant I don’t know where to start. Sending heartfelt prayers to your family. Your authentic love for the game has touched so many lives you will be truly missed.”
Alex Bazzell, St. Charles West graduate and current NBA/WNBA skills coach worked out with Gianna Bryant back in December 2019.
Webster Groves grad and former Minnesota Gophers basketball player Kendall Shell shared a letter on Twitter,
Carlos Martinez shared a photo of Bryant on his Instagram and wrote, “Rest in Paradise, Kobe Forever.”
Jack Flaherty wrote on Twitter, “Only one Black Mamba. Thoughts and prayers with all the families impacted by today. Hold your loved ones close.”