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Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna attended Mass before helicopter crash

/ 03:51 PM January 29, 2020
Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020.  Image: AP/Chris Carlson

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna went to church moments before they lost their lives in a fatal helicopter crash last Sunday, Jan. 26.

The two attended a 7 a.m. Catholic Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady Queen of the Angels in Newport Beach in California in the US, DailyMail reported on Jan. 27.

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Julie Hermes, a spokeswoman for the church, said the two had simply slipped in at the back during the service to avoid disturbing other parishioners. They also left early to not draw attention to themselves. After exiting the parish church, the two boarded a helicopter to make their way to Gianna’s basketball practice at the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks.

The helicopter flew in foggy condition and ended up crashing into a rugged hillside in Calabasas, Los Angeles. The accident left Bryant, his daughter and seven other passengers dead.

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Hermes said that Bryant’s passing was first announced during the 12 p.m. service on the same day, hours after the crash. According to the report, every Mass since then has been dedicated to the victims’ families.

“He was very much loved at the church, and he was very devout, very dedicated to his faith,” she added. 

The day after the tragedy, Bishop Timothy Freyer, of Bryant’s diocese, mourned the nine fatalities on Facebook. He described the athlete as a “committed Catholic who loved his family and loved his faith.”

Our hearts remain heavy after the tragic loss suffered in the wake of yesterday’s helicopter crash in Calabasas.We…

Posted by Bishop Timothy Freyer on Monday, January 27, 2020

Meanwhile, a certain Cristina Ballestero looked back on how she met the late NBA legend at a different church, after hearing of his death. She gave a detailed account of her encounter with Bryant on her Instagram page on Jan. 27.

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She recalled that the athlete had simply sat in the same pew as her at the back of the church during a weekday service.

“As we went up to communion, he waited for me to go,” Ballestero pointed out.

The gesture was seen as a sign of respect to women in the Catholic Church, she explained.

After communion, she said, “it was such a cool experience to receive Jesus right before him, and also, to walk up to receive Jesus together.”

Ballestero then mentioned Bryant’s 2015 GQ interview where he said a Catholic priest helped him face a tough time after he was accused of raping a woman in 2003. 

In light of his sentiments, Ballestero noted how the athlete’s “most inspiring trait was his decision to turn to his faith in God and receive God’s mercy and to be a better man after a regretful decision.”  Ryan Arcadio /ra

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TAGS: Death, Gianna Bryant, helicopters, Kobe Bryant, Religion
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