John Altobelli, a baseball coach at Orange Coast College, his wife Keri and their teen daughter Alyssa
Tributes also poured out for the 56-year-old college baseball coach Altobelli and his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, who played on the same team as Gianna Bryant.
OCC assistant coach Ron La Ruffa told CNN: ‘It was something John routinely did, flying up with Kobe to attend games with his daughter.’
John Altobelli, the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College, and his wife Keri died in the helicopter crash along with the other seven, including their daughter Alyssa
Altobelli had worked at the community college for 27 seasons and last year won the state championship. He was named coach of the year after leading the team to more than 700 victories in four state titles.
Among players he coached during his stellar career were MLB stars Jeff McNeil, of the New York Mets, and Donnie Murphy, formerly of the Chicago Cubs and Florida/Miami Marlins.
‘John meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball,’ athletic director of Orange Coast College Jason Kehler said in a statement.
‘He truly personified what it means to be a baseball coach. The passion that he put into the game, but more importantly his athletes, was second to none – he treated them like family.’
The Altobellis daughter Alyssa who played on the same basketball team as Gianna Bryant at the Mamba Academy
Ara Zobayan, the pilot
Pilot Ara Zobayan was also killed. The cause of the crash is under investigation but the control tower at Burbank Airport was contacted by the pilot shortly before 10am local time
The cause of the crash is still under investigation but Zobayan had contacted the control tower at Burbank Airport shortly before 10am.
At around 9.40am the helicopter turned south, towards a mountainous area, flight tracker data shows. Five minutes later it hit the hillside at 1700 feet, near the home of Kourtney Kardashian.
Jared Yochim, a friend of the pilot, penned a heartfelt tribute on Facebook, writing: ‘The pilot flying Kobe and crew today was my friend Ara Zobayan (white shirt and tie). Many of my friends were actually friends with Ara and not just pilots.
‘This is the last photo I took with Ara celebrating our friend and fellow pilot Lorenzo Lamas’s 60th birthday. It would be the final beer we shared together. Ara was an incredible pi lot, instructor pilot, charter pilot and truly a great man.
‘He was not your typical egotistical helicopter pilot like most of us honestly are. Ara was a man that always remained cool, calm and collected. As more people that knew Ara open up about him, you’ll only hear words like professional, calculated and loving.
Jared Yochim, a friend of the pilot, penned a heartfelt tribute on Facebook, writing: ‘The pilot flying Kobe and crew today was my friend Ara Zobayan (white shirt and tie). Many of my friends were actually friends with Ara and not just pilots’
‘He was always good for a laugh. The loss is not mine, but a community really. Ara impacted so many people and only in a positive way. I’m sorry that you never got to meet him. You would’ve loved him, I promise.’
Christina Mauser, girls basketball coach
Christina Mauser, who also worked at the Mamba Academy, was a girls basketball coach at the private elementary Harbor Day School in Newport Beach. Gianna Bryant was a pupil at the school.
Her husband, Matt Mauser, founded the Tijuana Dogs, a popular Orange County band. In a Facebook post he said: ‘My kids and I are devastated. We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash.’
It is believed the Mausers had two children together, a son and daughter.
Christina Mauser, who also worked at the Mamba Academy, was a girls basketball coach at the private elementary Harbor Day School in Newport Beach. Gianna was a pupil at the school. Her husband, Matt Mauser (pictured with his wife) said: ‘My kids and I are devastated. We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash.’
Matt Mauser posted a hearbtreaking wedding picture to his Instagram page, writing: ‘Forever & Always my love’
Sarah Chester and her teenage daughter Payton
For mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester, Todd Schmidt, the school principal at Harbor View Elementary, paid a moving tribute.
Schmidt wrote: ‘As folks mourn the loss of Kobe Bryant, I want to take a moment to remember two gorgeous human beings who were with him, Sarah and Payton Chester…
Sarah Chester, right, and her daughter Payton. Todd Schmidt, the school principal at Harbor View Elementary, remembered the pair as ‘two gorgeous human beings’
‘As a principal, we work with some amazing families…the Chesters were one of those…engaged, supportive, encouraging, and full of mischief and laughter…and they had the best kiddos!
‘This family made such a huge impact at Harbor View…they were genuine, kind-hearted, and caring…to the staff, to other families…and yes, especially to me. While the world mourns the loss of a dynamic athlete and humanitarian, I mourn the loss of two people just as important…their impact was just as meaningful, their loss will be just as keenly felt, and our hearts are just as broken.
‘You were both the embodiment of #hvepride, and the world is just a little less without you both in it. May you both Rest In Peace and know the deep impact you had on our lives. You will be so sorely missed.’