The world was rocked by Kobe Bryant's sudden and tragic death in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning. The Los Angeles Lakers legend was a global icon, remaining one of the world's most beloved basketball players even several years into his retirement. The pain felt by Bryant's death was only made worse when it was revealed that his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other victims were on board that flight that was making its way to a junior basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy near Thousand Oaks, California. According to a report by the New York Post, those victims included a mother and her child, Sarah Chester and her 13-year-old daughter Payton.
The Chesters received tributes as their loved ones tried to make sense of the two lives that were tragically cut short.
Todd Schmidt, the school principal at Harbor View Elementary -- which Payton had previously attended -- also wrote a Facebook post to honor the memory of his former pupil, as reported by Entertainment Tonight.
"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... 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."As the world continues to process this immense tragedy, tributes to the accomplishments of not just Kobe, but also Gianna, Sarah, Payton, John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, and Ara Zobayan -- everyone who was on that helicopter -- will come forward. While Kobe's legend has impacted those all around the world, every life lost on that flight will have an impact on the world around them.
There is still a mystery surrounding what exactly led to such a tragic event. The latest reports say that the dense fog that was affecting Los Angeles at the time may have been a primary factor in the crash and that Bryant's helicopter was flying dangerously low at the time. Flight Following, which works as an air traffic control for aircraft that flies in lower altitudes than commercial aircraft in Southern California, actually contacted the helicopter before the crash to warn about the dangerous altitude. The weather had forced the flight to circle their destination of the Burbank Airport for about 15 minutes while waiting for other flights to land.