'She Was Extraordinary': Man Pays Tribute To Wife Who Died In Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash
The grief-stricken husband of a woman who died when Kobe Bryant's private helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California has remembered her as "extraordinary".
Christina Mauser was one of nine killed on Monday morning when the helicopter plunged into a hillside in dense fog.
She had three children and was a basketball coach at the school Bryant’s daughters attended.
Her devastated husband Matt struggled to keep it together when he spoke about his wife in an emotional interview with TODAY.
"I was keeping it together until you said her name and now I'm losing it again," Mauser said.
It's horrible. I've got three small kids and I'm trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mum.
The emotional father started to cry as he spoke about his young daughter who watched the tributes flow in for the victims of the crash last night.
"We watched Sports Centre for like two seconds and [my daughter] said it was nice to know that everyone was hurting along with us," he said.
Mauser remembered his wife as an "extraordinary" person.
"She was incredibly witty and funny... She was warm, she was incredibly bright," Mauser said.
"I was so proud of her and she was so happy," he said.
Mauser said he introduced his wife to NBA great Kobe Bryant after they met in a private school where Bryant's daughters attended.
Mauser was a Spanish teacher at the school and as a talented musician, Bryant later hired him to produce music for a podcast.
"[Bryant] was injured and he asked me if he could come on a field trip with me to San Diego and I said 'hell yeah you can come with me'," Mauser said.
Mauser was also a basketball coach at the school when he met Bryant.
At the time his wife was the assistant coach of the team, and the trio bonded over their love of the sport.
"[Bryant] saw what an amazing mind she had for basketball and he brought her on. He asked her to teach the kid defence," Mauser said.
"Kobe didn't really understand his own defence because he'd never played at high school or college. They called her the mother of defence, M.O.D," he said.
Mauser said he didn't want to name the victims on the helicopter but said they were "like family".
"They were so proud that their kids were growing and becoming better basketball players. Kobe took these kids from private school and made them gritty and tough," Mauser said.
"He was dedicated, and so was my wife."
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