A few hours before Kobe Bryant’s life was cut short in a helicopter crash, the NBA legend went to church and prayed.
He visited Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Newport Beach early Sunday morning ahead of the 7 a.m. mass, a church official said.
Bryant, 41, and his family were regulars at the Newport Beach church, praying along with hundreds of other parishioners during mass and never trying to attract attention to themselves.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Bishop Timothy Freyer of the Diocese of Orange described Bryant as a “committed Catholic who loved his family and loved his faith.”
“A longtime Orange County resident and parishioner in our Diocese, Kobe would frequently attend Mass and sit in the back of the church so that his presence would not distract people from focusing on Christ’s Presence,” the bishop said in the post.
Hours after he visited the church, Bryant, his daughter Gianna, 13, and another six passengers died when a helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California. The pilot was also killed.
They were heading to a basketball game in Thousand Oaks, where the former NBA player was expected to coach and his daughter was expected to play.