Kobe Bryant’s heartbroken father has been seen for the first time since losing the NBA legend, 41, and his 13-year-old granddaughter Gigi in a helicopter crash.
Joe Bryant, 65, a retired NBA star, was pictured stepping out of the Las Vegas home he shares with Kobe’s mother, Pamela, after a bouquet of flowers were delivered on Monday afternoon.
His outing comes after neighbors told DailyMail.com that Joe and Pamela’s lives have been turned ‘upside down’ because of the tragedy.
‘I talked to them twice yesterday and took over food and a card, and briefly today, they are just devastated, as you can imagine,’ the neighbor said, adding: ‘It’s a private, awful moment, losing their son and grand-daughter, it’s just horrific. I was talking to Joe briefly the day before, we were out for a walk, it was all happy and good and talking about the gorgeous weather and then it switched in 24 hours where their lives were turned upside down.’
The neighbor said Joe and Pamela are ‘very close’ to their daughters Sharia and Shaya who live in Las Vegas and the family has been rallying together, adding: ‘They just need their peace, it’s been nonstop since yesterday.
‘They were here this morning and yesterday. It’s a sensitive time, I can’t even imagine what they’re going through. They are lovely, kind, decent people.’
This comes after Kobe’s former coach and best friend of his father Joe, Wayne Slappy, told DailyMail.com that the NBA star’s family is struggling to deal with a ‘black hole’ left by his death and have been left feeling empty.
‘Can you imagine a black hole? It’s empty, how do you fill it? They’re a close-knit family. He was 41-years-old, and then his daughter dies in an accident with him too,’ the 67-year-old basketball coach said.
He added: ‘His family are going to miss him more than you can begin to imagine. I know NBA players whose kids can’t stand them, they never spent any time with them. That ain’t Kobe.
‘He grew up with his family loving each other. He was doing the same thing his father did for him, for his daughters, to the best of his ability.’
Kobe Bryant died along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others when his chopper crashed in Calabasas, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles on Sunday.
The NBA legend leaves behind wife Vanessa, daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, three, seven-month-old Capri, and his parents and sisters Sharia and Shaya.