Regular People Who Died Alongside Celebrities

Only a couple months before the United States would lock down due to the coronavirus pandemic, seemingly the entire county was rocked by the death of LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash. His 13-year-old daughter Gianna, an up-and-coming basketball player in her own right, but not truly famous in the way the underage offspring of celebrities sometimes are, died alongside him. There were seven even lesser-known people in the helicopter as well. According to ABC News, their names were John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah and Payton Chester, and Ara Zobayan.

The Altobelli family was John, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa. John was a college baseball coach for 27 years. Keri was described by a friend as “loving and extremely loyal” who juggled her family and business demands “effortlessly.” A teammate of Gianna, 14-year-old Alyssa was remembered as a generous player who always had a motivational comment to give.

Christina Mauser was a “top assistant coach” of the young girls’ basketball team, and as her husband noted, she was handpicked by Kobe because she was “exceptional.” Sarah Chester was a former teacher and mother of the 13-year-old Payton, who was built to be a player at 5’11”. Sarah’s former principal called the pair “genuine, kind-hearted, and caring.” For the pilot Ara Zobayan, flying was “his life’s passion,” according to his employers, and he paid that forward by giving flying lessons.

One year after the crash, USA Today talked to the loved ones of the victims, all of whom were still struggling with the emotional effects of the tragedy.

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