Remembering others who join Kobe Bryant as victims of aviation crashes

Roy Halladay, Aaliyah, Rocky Marciano among those who perished in accidents

On Sunday, news of Kobe Bryant’s fatal helicopter crash reached the nation. He, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed when his helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, California.

Air travel is safe these days, and casual travelers shouldn't worry.

"If you take one flight a day, you would on average need to fly every day for 55,000 years before being involved in a fatal crash." — MIT statistician Arnold Barnett

Despite the odds, Bryant joined a tragic list of celebrities who have lost their lives in aviation-related accidents. Here are some other big names from that list:

Roy Halladay

Roy Halladay, a retired All-Star baseball pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, was killed in a private plane crash off the Florida coast in 2017. He was an amateur pilot, and Halladay reportedly had amphetamines and morphine in his system at the time of the accident.


In 2001, R&B singer Aaliyah traveled to the Bahamas to film a music video for her new single "Rock the Boat." She was nervous to fly, according to a biographical account. At the conclusion of the shoot, the plane that was supposed to return her and her team to the United States crashed right after takeoff. Aaliyah was 22 when she died.

Payne Stewart

PGA golfer Payne Stewart won three major championships including a U.S. Open in 1999, the year he died. In October, he flew in a chartered jet that lost cabin pressure. While all the jet’s occupants suffered from hypoxia, the jet continued flying on autopilot until it ran out of fuel and crashed in South Dakota.

Credit: David Cannon

Credit: David Cannon

John F. Kennedy Jr. 

John F. Kennedy Jr., son of President John F. Kennedy, piloted a small plane in 1999 to take him, his wife and his sister-in-law to Martha’s Vineyard. The National Transportation Safety Board’s final report stated the plane crashed off the coast of Massachusetts because of Kennedy’s inexperience and poor weather conditions that caused him to become disoriented.

John Denver

John Denver, a 1970s folk singer, passed away at age 53 in 1997 in a private plane crash. AP News reports  he was distracted while communicating with the air traffic control tower. He had bought the aircraft one day prior and was practicing flying near a small airport in Monterey, California, despite having his pilot's license suspended in 1996.

Rocky Marciano

Rocky Marciano remained undefeated through 49 professional fights, ultimately becoming world heavyweight boxing champion. Most know him as the inspiration for Sylvester Stallone's "Rocky" film series. He died on Aug. 31, 1969, one day before his 40th birthday. He died in a plane crash in Iowa after a pilot hit a tree 2 miles short of the runway.

Patsy Cline

Country singer Patsy Cline was involved in a plane accident on her way home to Nashville after performing in Kansas City in 1963. She traveled with fellow singers Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins. The pilot lost control while flying in poor weather conditions and crashed outside Camden, Tennessee. The pilot and three performers all died in the crash.

»RELATED: NBA great Kobe Bryant, daughter, 7 others killed in helicopter crash