DURHAM, N.C. (WEHT) — Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski provided this statement on the passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and seven other people who died in a helicopter crash Sunday morning.
“We have tragically lost one of the greatest sports figures of our time with the passing of Kobe Bryant. He was an incredibly gifted person who was universally respected. He was in constant pursuit of doing something special and there will never be a greater warrior in our sport. I had the amazing honor of coaching Kobe in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, and I will always remember how much he cherished representing his country in a first-class manner playing the game he so loved. The game of basketball is better today because of Kobe, and he deserves eternal appreciation for that. This is a devastating loss, made even more tragic by the passing of his daughter, Gianna, and all others on board. The entire Krzyzewski family is saddened as we genuinely loved and admired Kobe. We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Vanessa, their daughters Natalia, Bianka, and Capri, and the families of those involved.”
The group was flying to Thousand Oaks, California, Sunday for a basketball game, where Gianna was expected to play and Bryant was expected to coach.
The helicopter crashed in Calabasas, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
CNN reports that Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri and daughter, Alyssa were aboard the helicopter.
Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball school at a K-8 private school in Orange County also died in the crash.
(This story was originally published on January 27, 2020)