Kobe Bryant Crash: Altobelli Family's Heartbreaking Text Messages Revealed

It has been two weeks since the helicopter crash that killed Gianna and Kobe Bryant, along with seven other people in southern California. While fans adjust to the new reality without Bryant, the families of the victims are still recovering the shock of that tragic day. The Altobelli family has revealed their heartbreaking correspondence from that fateful morning.

A commercial helicopter left John Wayne Airport on Sunday, Jan. 26, carrying Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and two of her teammates to a basketball tournament in Thousand Oaks, California. 14-year-old Alyssa Altobelli was travelling with her parents, Keri and John Altobelli.

John Altobelli was well-known in the world of sports, as the baseball coach for Orange Coast College. The Altobellis lived right near the Bryants, and since Alyssa was on Team Mamba with Gianna, it made sense for them to travel together to the tournament that day.

However, John's younger brother Tony was not completely sure that his family was on Bryant's flight on Sunday. He told The New York Times that he received a call just before noon from their third brother, Jim, who lives in Texas.

"Did you hear about Kobe?" Jim asked.

Seeing the developing news stories, Tony reached out to Sammy Doucette, a basketball coach at Orange Coast College who had previously coached at the Mamba Sports Academy.

"Hey Sammy is it true about Kobe?" he asked in a text sent at 11:54 a.m.

"Where is John?" she replied at once. "Was he on board? Where's Alyssa?"

"You better call John," she went on. "His phone is off. I know he's flown on the 'copter before."

Tony's next text went to John at 11:55 a.m., asking: "Hey, are you there? Are you and the kids OK?" there was no response.

Tony next reached out to other baseball coaches at Orange Coast College, looking for some confirmation that John had been on the helicopter. It was Coach Tim Matz who reportedly called him back, speaking through tears.

"They're all gone," he said.

"Who's all gone?" Tony asked.

"John, Keri and Alyssa," Matz said. "They're all gone."

Tony worked at Orange Coast College as well, according to the Times. He spoke to his brother on the baseball field on Saturday, saying they would see each other on Tuesday.

One of John Altobelli's assistant coaches recalled talking to him on Saturday as well. He was disappointed to be missing the first day of the basketball tournament for work, but he planned on attending on Sunday. He was dreading the 90-minute drive there, however, until he received a phone call form Bryant.


"Sweet. Kobe's taking us in the chopper," he reportedly said.

The helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California, at 9:45 a.m. PT. There were no survivors.