Kobe Bryant's body was positively identified by fingerprint on Tuesday, January 28. His daughter Gianna and four others have yet to be identified, but all 9 victims from the fatal flight were recovered from the crash site and the investigation is ongoing.
"Four people who died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas on Sunday have been identified," the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner announced. Kobe, John Altobelli, Sarah Chester, and pilot Ara Zobayan's deaths were confirmed through the use of fingerprints. Investigators are still working on identifying the five remaining decedents.
During a press conference on Tuesday, NTSB officials revealed that the helicopter spent approximately a minute in descent before crashing into a hillside in Calabasas and bursting into flames on Sunday, January 26. There were no survivors.
The Lakers legend's passing has rocked the basketball community and the world at large. His wife Vanessa Bryant is reportedly struggling to keep it together for the sake of her surviving daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.
"It’s an extremely difficult and devastating time for Vanessa and the whole family. She can hardly keep it together. She can’t finish a sentence without crying. But she is working very hard to pull it together for the other girls. She now has to be the strong one," a source told People.
The source continued, "Of course, you can never be prepared for this. Despite their ups and downs, Vanessa and Kobe were soulmates. She thought of him as her partner for life. Vanessa is surrounded by people who love her and love Kobe. She has a good support system. She is relying on her faith. She is not alone. But she will be grieving this for a very long time."
Several late night hosts including Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and Conan O'Brien paid tribute to Kobe during their opening monologues on Monday night. Ellen DeGeneres fought back tears while discussing the tragedy on her talk show. "Today is Monday. Yesterday was Sunday and it happened to be my birthday and the Grammy Awards. I was nominated. I didn’t win. Not the point. Yesterday was a celebratory day and we got tragic news about Kobe Bryant and everything changed in a second. That’s what I want to talk about: Life is short and it’s fragile. And we don’t know how many birthdays we have. We don’t have to have a birthday to celebrate. Just celebrate life," she told the audience.
Funeral and memorial arrangements for Kobe and Gianna have yet to be announced.