Public memorial service to honor Kobe, other victims of helicopter crash

Bryant’s widow announces symbolic Feb. 24 date for event at Staples Center in Los Angeles

Kobe Bryant’s widow has announced a public memorial in honor of the late basketball star, their 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others who died in a helicopter crash nearly two weeks ago.

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The “Celebration of Life” memorial tribute is planned for 10 a.m. Feb. 24 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, according to a digital flyer Vanessa Bryant posted to Instagram on Friday.

The announcement came a day after reports first surfaced about the event.

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#2, #24 #20 years as a Laker 💜💛

A post shared by Vanessa Bryant 🦋 (@vanessabryant) on

The date of the memorial — 2/24/20 — is symbolic.

According to reports, it represents the jersey numbers of Gianna (2), Kobe (24) and the number of years Kobe played with the L.A. Lakers (20).

Ticket information was not available.

The arena can seat about 20,000 people.

The Los Angeles Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies are scheduled to play a game at the arena later the same evening.

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Everyone on board the helicopter was killed after the aircraft crashed into a mountainside in Calabasas, California.

The other victims were longtime Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri Altobelli and their daughter, Alyssa Altobelli; Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton Chester; assistant basketball coach Christina Mauser; and pilot Ara Zobayan.

They were headed to a girls basketball tournament at Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks, where the 41-year-old retired NBA star was set to coach a game for his daughter’s team.

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No cause for the crash has been determined, but investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said Friday the wreckage did not show any outward evidence of engine failure, The Associated Press reported.

The helicopter's instrument panel was destroyed in the crash and most of the devices were displaced, according to the NTSB's investigative update. The flight controls were broken and suffered fire damage.

Investigators believe that since a tree branch at the crash site was cut, it appears the engines were working and rotors turning at the time of impact.

Friday's report was merely informational and did not offer any findings about what caused the crash. The victims' deaths have been ruled an accident by blunt trauma, according to the Los Angeles County coroner.

— Information provided by The Associated Press was used to supplement this report.