The Altobellis lost three members of their family the day of the fatal helicopter crash along with Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and three others. Recently, the family shared some harrowing texts from that fateful day.
An article from The New York Times reveals how John and Kari Altobelli ended coming along with their daughter on the helicopter January 26.
Alyssa Altobelli was a teammate of Gianna’s at the Mamba Sports Academy. Their two families lived blocks apart and had become friends, so Bryant would often offer them a ride on his helicopter to avoid traffic on the way to games.
John was a local college baseball coach, and work had kept him away from his daughter’s game on Saturday, but he got news from Bryant about Sunday’s game.
“Sweet. Kobe’s taking us in the chopper,” Altobelli said to his assistant coach while still in the office.
His younger brother, Tony, also worked at the college and spoke to the New York Times about the last conversation the two had. Tony had been running the track when he spotted his brother and ran over to say hello.
The older Altobelli teased his brother about going for “20 beers” after his run. Their family had plans to meet up Tuesday and that’s the last thing John said to him.
“O.K. Toad. See you Tuesday,” John said calling his younger brother by his nickname.
Jim, the third Altobelli brother was the one who alerted Tony about the crash.
“Did you hear about Kobe?” he asked after the news had broke.
At the time, Altobelli just thought it was celebrity news but he texted a friend – Sammy Doucette – to find out more information. Doucette was a coach at the Mamba Academy where the girls were headed to play.
“Hey Sammy is it true about Kobe?” he texted.
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I’ve been reluctant to put my feelings into words. My brain refuses to accept that both Kobe and Gigi are gone. I can’t process both at the same time. It’s like I’m trying to process Kobe being gone but my body refuses to accept my Gigi will never come back to me. It feels wrong. Why should I be able to wake up another day when my baby girl isn’t being able to have that opportunity?! I’m so mad. She had so much life to live. Then I realize I need to be strong and be here for my 3 daughters. Mad I’m not with Kobe and Gigi but thankful I’m here with Natalia, Bianka and Capri. I know what I’m feeling is normal. It’s part of the grieving process. I just wanted to share in case there’s anyone out there that’s experienced a loss like this. God I wish they were here and this nightmare would be over. Praying for all of the victims of this horrible tragedy. Please continue to pray for all.
It was not until she replied that Altobelli realized his brother and his family may have been on board.
“Where is John? Was he on board. Where’s Alyssa?” Doucette replied. “You better call John. His phone is off. I know he’s flown on the copter before.”
Altobelli immediately sent a text to his older brother.
“Hey, are you there? Are you and the kids OK?
Once there was no reply panic set in for Altobelli who frantically began messaging other baseball coaches. One of them, Tim Matz, decided to call instead of replying with a text.
“They’re all gone,” Matz said.
“Who’s all gone?” Altobelli asked.
“John, Keri and Alyssa. They’re all gone.”
As reported by The Inquisitr, a GoFundMe page has been setup to raise funds for John and Kari’s two surviving children.