AceShowbiz - Kobe Bryant's father Joe Bryant has been seen for the first time since his son and granddaughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday, January 26. The 65-year-old retired NBA star was pictured stepping out of his Las Vegas home, where he and Kobe's mother Pamela live, on Monday.
In pictures obtained by Daily Mail, Joe looked somber as he picked up a giant bouquet of yellow flowers delivered to his home that afternoon. The former professional basketball player seemed to be dispirited as he walked back into the house.
A neighbor told the site that the family is too heartbroken to comment on the tragedy and are grieving privately. "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.
The neighbor shared, "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 claimed Joe and Pamela are "very close" to their daughters Sharia and Shaya, who have been mourning with their parents. "They just need their peace, it's been nonstop since yesterday," the neighbor, who refused to be named, added. "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."
Wayne Slappy, Kobe's ex-coach and Joe's good friend, also said on Monday that the former Lakers star and his father appeared to be mending their rift at the time of his death. The late athlete had a fall out with his parents when they tried to sell his memorabilia in 2013 without his knowledge.
"I just remember being with him up at his camp in Santa Barbara and seeing him hug his dad," Wayne recalled recently seeing the father-son duo at a basketball camp in California. "You know how they loved each other from how they looked at each other, how they smiled."
He added, "Everybody's family has issues, disagreements here and there. The healing comes, but this healing is going to be hard because he's not here." On how Kobe's death affected the family, Wayne dished, "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. His family are going to miss him more than you can begin to imagine."
Kobe, Gianna and seven other people on board of the helicopter were killed in the accident. As of Monday, the Los Angeles County Coroner revealed that only three bodies have been recovered so far. "Personnel from the department's Special Operations Response Team (SORT) are advancing their efforts today in recovering bodies from a helicopter crash that occurred in Calabasas on Sunday," the LA coroner said in a statement.