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Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli killed alongside Kobe Bryant in helicopter crash

Posted at 4:33 PM, Jan 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-27 11:49:15-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- An Orange County baseball coach was among the nine people killed, including Kobe Bryant, in Sunday morning's helicopter crash in Calabasas.

John Altobelli, a 27-year veteran coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, was on the aircraft with his wife and daughter Alyssa, his brother told news station ABC 7 in Los Angeles.

“John meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball,” says Coast Athletic Director Jason Kehler. “He truly personified what it means to be a baseball coach. The passion that he put into the game, but more importantly his athletes, was second to none - he treated them like family. Our deepest condolences go out to the Altobelli family during this time of tragedy.”

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Campus officials said Altobelli led the OCC Pirates to several conference titles and recorded over 700 wins during his career.

Last year, Altobelli was honored by the "American Baseball Coaches Association as an ABCA/Diamond National Coach of the Year, a testament to his incredible work ethic and passion for the game," campus officials said.

“Coach Altobelli was a giant on our campus - a beloved teacher, coach, colleague and friend. This is a tremendous loss for our campus community," OCC President Angelica Suarez.

Bryant and one of his daughters were among the nine people killed in a helicopter crash in southern California on Sunday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver confirmed.

The41-year-old former NBA star and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were aboard the aircraft when it went down in Calabasas around 10 a.m. PST.