The husband of Christina Mauser, one of the passengers in the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, is paying tribute to his wife.
On Sunday morning, the 41-year-old Los Angeles Lakers legend and his 13-year-old daughter were on a helicopter when it crashed in Calabasas, Calif. In addition to Kobe and Gigi, seven other people on the helicopter were also killed. John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester and Ara Zobayan have all been identified as victims of the helicopter crash.
Christina Mauser, a 38-year-old assistant coach for Gigi's Mamba Academy basketball team, has also been confirmed as one of the victims in the crash. Her husband Matt Mauser posted a message about Christina's passing on Facebook, writing, "My kids and I are devastated. We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash. Please respect our privacy. Thank you for all the well wishes they mean so much."
On Monday, Matt spoke with Today's Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb about the heartbreaking loss.
"It's horrible," he told the co-anchors. "I've got three small kids, and I'm trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mom."
Christina and Matt, both teachers, met Kobe through the private school that the basketball star's daughters attended. Matt was the basketball coach at the school, while Christina was his assistant coach. Following his retirement from basketball, Kobe went on to coach his daughter's team. As he shared in a 2018 interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Gigi aspired to carry on his legacy, hoping to compete in the WNBA.
"[Kobe] saw what an amazing mind [Christina] had for basketball and he brought her on," Matt said on Today. "He asked her to teach the kids defense."
"They called her the mother of defense," Matt shared.
"She was extraordinary,'' he said of his wife. "She was incredibly witty, funny, funny like nobody you've ever met."
"She was warm, she was incredibly bright, she was technologically incredibly savvy," he added. "She could figure out anything."
Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley also spoke out about Christina's passing on Twitter.
"I just learned that our amazing Matt Mauser of TiajuanaDogs lost his wife Christina in the crash," the tweet reads. "She coached the girls team. This devastating tragedy gets worse by the hour. So much pain for so many local families. Our hearts are broken & grieving for the families impacted."
Alyssa Altobelli, one of the victims in the helicopter crash, was a teammate of Gigi's on the Mamba Academy basketball squad. The 13-year-old's parents, baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, his wife Keri Altobelli were also on the helicopter on Sunday. At the time of the crash, the helicopter is believed to have been heading to Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Our thoughts are with all of the families affected by this tragedy during this heartbreaking time.