BOSTON (WHDH/AP) — A longtime coach who had a major impact on the Cape Cod Baseball League was killed in a helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant and the retired NBA superstar’s daughter, Gianna.
John Altobelli, 56, died along with his wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa, who was about 13 and played on the same basketball team as Bryant’s daughter, said Altobelli’s younger brother, Tony. They were among the nine people aboard the helicopter when it crashed around 10 a.m. Sunday in Calabasas, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Altobelli spent 27 seasons as a coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California, but before his time there, he served as a coach for the Brewster Whitecaps in Massachusetts.
Ned Montie, general manager of the Whitecaps, says Altobelli left his mark on the team.
“He liked the top-level, all-star player as most coaches do, but he was also able to work with the players who were not necessarily all-stars, who were good players, who deserved to play on Cape Cod, but every player was treated equally by John,” Montie recalled.
The news of Altobelli’s unexpected death devastated those he coached in the Cape Cod Baseball League, including New York Yankees outfield Aaron Judge.
“This isn’t real,” Judge tweeted soon after the news broke.
The Boston Red Sox released a statement, writing, “John touched so many lives in his 27 years coaching at Orange Coast College, and we join the entire baseball community in mourning him.”
Altobelli’s son, JJ, serves as a scout for the Red Sox.
Along with his son, Altobelli and his wife leave behind an older daughter, Alexis.
(Copyright (c) 2019 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)