HomeAsian AmericansFilipina American Among Victims in Kobe Bryant Helicopter Tragedy

Filipina American Among Victims in Kobe Bryant Helicopter Tragedy

Views From The Edge by Ed Dionko

Among the nine passengers that died when Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crashed was Filipina American girls basketball coach Christina Mauser.

Bryant had selected the 38-year-old mother of three to teach defense to his daughter’s  Mamba Academy basketball team. Bryant’s daughter, 13-year old Gianna, was also killed in the crash.

Her husband Matt, 38, holding back tears, opened up about his family situation on both social media and to media outlets.

“He didn’t choose Christina for just any ordinary reason,” Matt said. “She was extraordinary. She was incredibly witty, funny, funny like nobody you’ve ever met.”

“I got three small kids and am trying to figure out how to navigate life with 3 kids and no mom,” Matt told NBC News.

The couple are both basketball coaches in Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar, California.

Bryant’s helicopter was carrying its passengers from his residence in Orange County to a youth basketball academy – Mamba Academy – northwest of Los Angeles when it crashed in a fog-shrouded mountainside near Calabasa, California. The academy is a basketball facility founded by baskeball legend Bryant, whose nickname is the Black Mamba.

The mayor of Costa Mesa — about 40 miles from Los Angeles — also tweeted about Mauser.

“This devastating tragedy gets worse by the hour,” Mayor Katrina Foley tweeted. “So much pain for so many local families. Our hearts are broken & grieving for the families impacted.”

Other passengers who perished in the copter crash included John Altobelli, a champion baseball coach at Orange Coast College, who was killed along with his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa. Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and pilot Ara Zobayan.

US Rep. Harley E. Rouda of California called the loss of life “incalculable.”

“Today our neighbors lost parents, children, friends, coaches and heroes,” he said. “Orange County is grieving, but we will find solace and purpose in the example they left behind.”

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