The tragedy of the incident that killed Kobe Bryant extends beyond the basketball community.
John Altobelli, former head coach of the Cape Cod Baseball League's Brewster Whitecaps and father of Boston Red Sox scout J.J. Altobelli, was one of nine people killed in a helicopter crash Sunday in Southern California along with Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
Altobelli's wife, Keri, and his daughter, Alyssa, also died in the crash.
According to The Athletic's Fabian Ardaya, Altobelli and Bryant developed a friendship through their daughters, Alyssa and Gianna, who were teammates on Bryant's Mamba Academy youth basketball team. The group was flying to a Mamba Academy game when the helicopter crashed, per The Athletic.
Altobelli served as head coach of the Brewster Whitecaps from 2012 to 2014, where he coached New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, New York Mets All-Star Jeff McNeil and Oakland Athletics infielder Ryon Healy among other future stars before they reached the major leagues.
We are heartbroken and shocked to learn that our former head coach, John Altobelli along with his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa passed away this morning in the helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.— Brewster Whitecaps (@WhitecapsCCBL) January 26, 2020
John was our head coach in 2012-14, and his son JJ played for us too. JJ and his other daughter Alexis survive them. Our heartfelt condolences to his family.— Brewster Whitecaps (@WhitecapsCCBL) January 26, 2020
Judge and McNeil both reacted to Sunday's tragic news on Twitter.
This isn’t real...— Aaron Judge (@TheJudge44) January 26, 2020
Tough to hear the news of coach Altobelli. One of my favorite coaches I have ever played for and one of the main reasons I got a chance to play professional baseball. Both the baseball and basketball world lost a great one today https://t.co/efAyf3s7Hj— Jeff McNeil (@JeffMcNeil805) January 26, 2020
Altobelli also was the longtime coach of Orange Coast College in Southern California and had just been named the American Baseball Coaches Association's coach of the year in 2019.
His son, J.J., joined the Red Sox as a scout in 2018 and still works for the team.