27.1.20

Husband of woman who died in crash that killed Kobe Bryant speaks out

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The husband of a woman who died Sunday along with Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash said there are "no words" to describe the tragedy.

"It's horrible," Matt Mauser said, holding back tears while talking about the death of his wife, Christina Mauser.

"I got three small kids and am trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mom," he said during an interview Monday on the "TODAY" show.


Christina Mauser, 38, was one of seven people, in addition to Bryant and his daughter, who died Sunday morning in the Calabasas crash. She was the assistant coach for Gianna Bryant's Mamba Academy basketball team, a job for which Mauser said Bryant personally selected her.

"He picked her because she was amazing," Mauser said. "I was so proud of her and she was so happy."

Matt and Christina Mauser, whose three kids are ages 11, 9 and 3, were both teachers working at a small private school that Bryant's daughters attended. Mauser said he was the basketball coach and his wife was the assistant coach when Bryant noticed "what an amazing mind" Christina Mauser had for the game and brought her on his coaching team.

"He asked her to teach the kids defense," Mauser said of his wife, adding Bryant said that wasn't his specialty. "They called her the mother of defense."

"She was beautiful, smart, funny," he said of Christina Mauser. "She was incredibly deep ... just an amazing person."

Other victims included John Altobelli, the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California; his wife, Keri; and their daughter Alyssa. The college, in confirming the deaths, said in a statement that Altobelli had coached there for 27 years.

Payton Chester, a 13-year-old basketball player, and her mother, Sarah, were also on board. Calling the crash a "freak accident," Payton's grandmother Catherine George told NBC News that "they had to get on the helicopter as a convenience today, they usually drove by car."

Mauser said he and his family have been trying to avoid watching the news, but when he briefly turned on SportsCenter last night, one of his daughters turned to him and said it was "nice to know everyone was hurting along with us."

"I'm scared, I think more than anything, I'm a little scared about the future," Mauser said of his life without his wife.

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