The bodies of Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant have been released to their family, according to the Los Angeles coroner’s office.
Officials in LA released the bodies over the weekend after determining their identities and cause of death.
The bodies of all nine victims of the helicopter crash have been released, and “blunt trauma” is the cause of death for each person. The bodies of Kobe, John Altobelli, Sarah Chester, and Ara Zobayan were identified by fingerprints. The bodies of Gianna, Payton Chester, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, and Christina Mauser were identified by “round-the-clock testing” and “DNA analysis.”
The office also believes that all nine victims died instantly.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti says that plans for a public service are underway. “We don’t have that date finalized, but we’ve been talking every day to the Lakers, and most importantly, to (Bryant’s widow, Vanessa) as well.”
The Lakers held an emotional tribute to Kobe and Gianna over the weekend, when they played their first home game since the helicopter crash. A cellist played in the middle of the court as a video montage of the two appeared overhead, and the team held 24.2 seconds of silence after the video in honor of Kobe, who wore number 24, and Gianna, who wore number 2.
LeBron James also delivered a speech, and while doing so decided to go completely off the planned speech he had written. He told fans, “Laker nation, man, I will be selling you short if I read off this [expletive], so I’m going to go straight from the heart.”
He continued: “This is a celebration of the blood, the sweat, the tears, the broken-down body, the gettin’ up, everything, the countless hours. The determination to be a great as he could be. We’re all grieving. We’re all hurt. We’re all heartbroken. But when we’re going through things like this, the best thing you can do is lean on the shoulders of your family.”
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