The brother younger of John Altobelli, who died with his wife and daughter in the helicopter crash along with Kobe Bryant, penned an emotional tribute thanking his brother for all the memories they shared.
John Altobelli, his wife Keri Altobelli and their daughter Alyssa Altobelli were among the nine victims who perished in the helicopter, which was also carrying Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant.
John was an accomplished athlete, according to Today, for the past 27 years he had been the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California.
On Sunday, when the news broke about the tragedy, the only known victims to have been on the helicopter were Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter.
It is reported, John's younger brother, Tony Altobelli, who has come forward as the family spokesperson, was taking a walk during a workout at the time that TMZ reported on the crash.
Kobe Bryant hugs daughter Gianna Bryant as they watch a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks, at Staples Center, on December 29, 2019, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images
Tony had known that John would sometimes fly with Kobe on his helicopter because they have developed a friendship since their daughters played together on the same basketball team.
After frantically trying to reach his brother, and contacting his colleagues, Tony got the dreaded news from one of John's assistant coaches saying, "they're all gone."
"THANK YOU for letting me be the annoying little brother and allowing me to join you on most of your older brother adventures."
Despite their eight-year age difference, Tony made light-hearted jokes as he spoke about being at his brother's bachelor party, watching too many PG13 movies, leaning on him through his divorce, and going through their conflicts as brothers, he ends his letter saying:
"Take care of Keri and Alyssa and we will keep a good eye on everything and everyone down here for you…You lived your life the way every human being should live their life. Your spirit and legacy will never be forgotten."
In a tribute written by Vanessa Bryant on Instagram, she admitted to sharing her grief with the other victims, who had also loved their lost ones on the crash.
She also revealed that in honor of the lives lost, the Mamba Sports Foundation had set up a fund called the MambaOnThree to help support the families affected.