Vanessa Bryant filed as the sole successor to Kobe Bryant’s estate on March 16, according to documents obtained by In Touch, amid her civil suit against the helicopter company Island Express. Bryant’s parents, who are both in their mid-60s, have not challenged Vanessa’s claim as the sole successor. In addition, the 37-year-old also filed applications asking the court to appoint her as the guardian for her three daughters — Natalia, Bianka and Capri. This would allow her to oversee all matters related to the lawsuit. 

The wife of the late basketball player is suing for the wrongful death of Kobe, 41, and daughter, Gianna, 13, during a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on January 26, which killed the two family members along with seven other victims — Payton Chester, 13, Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Keri Altobelli, 36, John Altobelli, 57, Christina Mauser, 38, Sarah Chester, 46, and pilot Ara Zobayan, 50. The group was headed to Thousand Oaks for basketball practice at Bryant’s Mamba Academy, but sadly, never arrived.

Kobe Bryan Wears Blue Suit Smiling With Wife Vanessa in Black Dress and Daughters Gianna and Natalia
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

The lawsuit filed by Vanessa claims that the aircraft was not fit to fly due to poor weather conditions and the extreme fog on the day of the crash. It also claims that the pilot and Island Express were reckless before and during the flight. She is asking for damages — for loss of love, affection, care, society, service, comfort, support, burial, funeral expenses and more. The lawsuit was filed on February 24, the same day as Bryant’s “Celebration of Life” event that took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. 

The helicopter was traveling at 180 miles per hour in the extreme fog, the lawsuit claims, just moments before it went down. The suit also alleges, the pilot knew about the risky conditions and did not take them into account prior to the flight or before takeoff and that he did not terminate the flight nor was he in control of the helicopter. 

This has been an extremely difficult time for the Bryant family. Vanessa opened up about her pain in a statement on Instagram on February 10. “It’s like I’m trying to process Kobe being gone, but my body refuses to accept my Gigi will never come back to me,” she wrote in a lengthy post. “It feels wrong. Why should I be able to wake up another day when my baby girl isn’t being able to have that opportunity?! I’m so mad. She had so much life to live. Then I realize I need to be strong and be here for my three daughters. Mad I’m not with Kobe and Gigi, but thankful I’m here with Natalia, Bianka and Capri.”

Have a tip? Send it to us! Email In Touch at