A West Hills artist who created a bronze statue of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, placed the artwork at the site of the Calabasas-area helicopter crash that took the lives of the Lakers legend, his daughter and seven others, on Wednesday, Jan. . 26, the second anniversary of the tragedy.
In the four-foot artwork, created by Dan Medina, Bryant is featured dressed in his Lakers uniform with his arm around his daughter, who holds a basketball and looks up at her father.
The statue’s base says: “Heroes come and go, but legends are forever.”
Those killed in the crash were the Los Angeles sports icon and his 13-year-old daughter; pilot Ara Zobayan; Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa; Mamba Academy basketball coach Christina Mauser; and mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester. The names of all those killed in the crash appear on the statue.
People gathered at the hillside site on Wednesday to leave flowers, notes and photos as impromptu tributes.
The artist told media outlets that he planned to remove the statue by sunset and hoped to get a permanent version placed in a prominent Los Angeles location.
A trial is nearing in a lawsuit brought by the NBA legend’s widow seeking millions of dollars in damages for the emotional distress she says she suffered after discovering that graphic photos of her loved ones’ remains were allegedly shared by Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire department personnel .
Since private mediation efforts failed, attorneys for Vanessa Bryant and the county have submitted hundreds of pages of declarations, motions, proposed jury instructions and verdict forms over the past week alone. Trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 22 before US District Judge John Walter.
A National Transportation Safety Board report released in February blamed pilot error for the crash.
City News Service contributed to this report.