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.


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.


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.


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

View this post on Instagram

I wanna tell a story about the time I met Kobe Bryant. I was sitting in the very back of Holy Family Cathedral in Orange, CA, on a WEEKDAY mass. At the time I was very into wearing veils and on this particular day I had a scarf I used as veil. Right as mass begins I see a huge shadow in my right peripheral vision and hear a decently loud creak from probably a big man. I double took to see… it was KOBE BRYANT IN THE SAME PEW AS ME ON THE OTHER END! I just went about my normal praying and singing as usual cause he like all of us came to pray. Thank God I had the veil so I could stay focused on Jesus not this insanely talented Basketball player my whole family has looked up to and watched our whole lives. As we went up to communion, he waited for me to go. If you grew up in the Catholic Church, you understand this is a respectful thing men do in church as a sign of respect to women. He said I have a beautiful voice. I said thank you and went up to communion. @marydallal @mandymissyturkey and a couple other friends saw him standing behind me going to receive Jesus. And we talked about it after mass and freaked out together. It was such a cool experience to receive Jesus right before him, and also, to walk up to receive Jesus together. It was also cool to see him come for a weekday mass. He said in his GQ interview how a Catholic Priest helped him through the tough time he went through in the media. He also talks about how his faith is important. His 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. Him and his wife do so much great work with their foundation. I’m heartbroken at the news of his death, alongside his daughter Gianna. My prayers go out to his Family, friends and loved ones. Eternal rest grant unto him, and her oh Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they Rest In Peace, Amen. We love you Kobe & Gianna. 💔 . . . . #kobebryant

A post shared by Cristina Ballestero (@cristinaballestero) on

“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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