North Texas Man Mourns Brother Killed In Helicopter Crash

John Altobelli and his daughter were among those killed in the helicopter crash that also took the life of Kobe Bryant

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A broken-hearted North Texas family waits for answers in the death of their loved one, killed in the helicopter crash that also killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

College baseball coach John Altobelli, whose daughter was a basketball teammate of Gianna Bryant, was on the helicopter at the time of the accident.

Altobelli, his wife Keri and his daughter Alyssa died in the crash.

John Altobelli was known to many as one of the best junior college baseball coaches in the nation, but his brother, Jim Altobelli of Aubrey, said John's legacy stretches beyond the baseball diamond.

The sport that shaped the Altobelli family, ultimately becoming a career for John Altobelli, who took a head coaching job in their home state of California more than two decades ago.

"He had 750 wins, which is unbelievable, at one of the most dynamic baseball facilities in the country. He was Mr. Baseball out there," Jim Altobelli said.

Off the field, he said, is where his brother saw the most success.

John Altobelli raised a son and, along with his wife, was raising two daughters -- ages 13 and 17.

Through the hustle of bustle of life, JIm Altobelli said his brother looked for ways to help others.

Perhaps that's why, he said, Kobe Bryant asked him to help coach the basketball team on which both their daughters played.

"He was the kind of person that anyone who would come up and talk to him, he would try to make an impact on their life," Jim Altobelli said.

He recalled the time his brother invited Bryant to his team's dugout to surprise his players with a pep talk.

"Around the dugout came Kobe as [John] was talking and Kobe touched those kids and gave them a really inspirational speech," Jim Altobelli said. "And I think John and him became pretty close friends after that."

He said John Altobelli was a friend, a coach, but most importantly a father dedicated to his family.

"It wasn't all about baseball for John," his brother said. "It was more about family. The world sees John in baseball. I see John as a great father."

Jim Altobelli will be laid to rest in Southern California. He left behind a son, 26, and a daughter, 17.

A GoFundMe page was created with donations to benefit the Altobelli family.

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