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Photo: AP Photo/Mark J Terrill
AP Photo - Mark J Terrill - Kobe .jpg
Photo: AP Photo/Mark J Terrill
World News

Kobe Bryant and his daughter attended church hours before fatal crash

by Tola Mbakwe

It's been revealed former NBA player Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna attended Sunday Mass and received communion at their local church few hours before their helicopter crashed, killing them and seven others. 

A spokesman for Our Lady Queen of Angels in Newport Beach, California told Daily that they both attended the 7am service.

Fr Anthony Vu, who led the service, said the Bryant family are known for always attending the services and slipping at the back of the church to avoid causing any disruption to the families and people praying, and they would leave a bit earlier before the masses ended.

Bishop Timothy Freyer from the Orange Diocese said in a Facebook post that Bryant "was a committed Catholic who loved his family and loved his faith".

He continued: "Kobe was a basketball icon who inspired us through his words and actions to set our goals, work hard and achieve our dreams.

"A long time Orange County resident and parishioner in our Diocese, Kobe would frequently attend Mass and sit in the back of the church so that his presence would not distract people from focusing on Christ's Presence.

Rev Jose H Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles shared on Twitter that hearing the news of Kobe's tragic death was "so very sad".

"There can be nothing more consoling to those who mourn than to know that a loved one worshipped God just before his death because worshiping God is what heaven is."

The bodies of the victims of the helicopter crash have started to be recovered.

The pilot of the helicopter told air traffic controllers he was climbing to avoid a layer of cloud shortly before the crash into a hillside in Calabasas, west of Los Angeles, on Sunday, according to the National Transport Safety Bureau (NTSB).

The "experienced" pilot Ara Zobayan received special clearance to fly in heavy fog in the minutes before the crash and was flying at 1,400 feet.

Radar data revealed he then climbed to 2,300 feet before beginning a left descending turn. The wreckage of the Sikorsky S-76B was found at 1,085 feet, the NTSB said.


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