Family members of former Oregon Ducks baseball player among helicopter crash victims

Kobe Bryant fan leaves flowers at a small memorial at the entrance of the Mamba Sports Academy
Kobe Bryant fan leaves flowers at a small memorial at the entrance of the Mamba Sports Academy(AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Updated: Jan. 26, 2020 at 7:58 PM PST
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EUGENE, Ore. (KPTV) - Family members of former Oregon Ducks baseball player J.J. Altobelli were among those who were killed in a helicopter crash that also took the lives of basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.

John Altobelli, the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College, his wife Keri and 13-year-old daughter Alyssa were heading to a basketball game with Bryant and his daughter, Gianna when their helicopter went down.

Alyssa and Gianna played on a basketball team together.

Their deaths are sending shockwaves around the world and here in Oregon.

John Altobelli is the father of J.J. Altobelli, a standout baseball player for the University of Oregon from 2010 to 2013.

Sunday, the University of Oregon baseball team tweeted a statement, saying:

“Our hearts are with former Duck great J.J. Altobelli after today’s tragedy in Calabasas. Deep roots with Oregon baseball amongst many others. Our deepest condolences to J.J., his family, the Bryant family, and all that were lost...we love you all.”

And while J.J. played briefly in the minor league, he also came back to Portland, where he served as manager of the Portland Pickles in 2015.

The team also tweeted out their sympathies Sunday, saying, “Our deepest condolences to the Altobelli and Bryant families. John Altobelli’s son J.J. managed the Pickles in 2015, our inaugural year. Our thoughts are with you.”

J.J. now works as a recruiter for the Boston Red Sox.

The team set up a GoFundMe for the Altobelli family.

The chief baseball officer released his own statement, which read in part, “The Red Sox are devastated by the news of yesterday’s tragic helicopter crash in Southern California. We are heartbroken for the victims and their families, including John Altobelli, father of Red Sox scout J.J. Altobelli, John’s wife Keri, and their daughter Alyssa. John touched so many lives in his 27 years coaching at Orange Coast College, and we join the entire baseball community in mourning him.”

During his career, John Altobelli had more than 700 wins and four state championships.