The late night host paid tribute to Kobe on his show on Tuesday.
Stephen Colbert took some time to reflect on the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, in a helicopter crash on Sunday. After speaking with the bandleader of The Late Show, Jon Batiste, on Tuesday about his own response to the news, Stephen discusses the "strange connection" he feels to the tragedy, which resulted in the deaths of both Kobe and Gigi, as well as seven others by the names of John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester and Ara Zobayan. Stephen shares how he can identify with the pain that the loved ones of these victims must feel, as he lost his father and two of his brothers in a plane crash when he was young.
"I lost my father and two of my brothers when I was a boy to a plane crash that was also in heavy fog," Stephen explains. "One of the terrible things about that shock and the heartbreaking unreality, nightmare quality of someone huge in your life who just disappears, the centre of your love disappearing in that moment, is not knowing what happened." He then goes on to discuss the technical shortcomings of helicopters that make it difficult to detect what went wrong when a tragedy occurs. A pilot named Choppy, whose father died in a plane crash and son died in a helicopter crash, explained to Stephen that a major flaw in helicopters is that they don't have black boxes. “I think it’s crazy that helicopters don’t have black box recorders," Stephen notes, "because as Choppy explained to me, when a helicopter goes down we don’t know how to improve the helicopter. We don’t know how to improve the flying of the pilots so this won’t happen again in the future.”
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“While nothing will possibly improve this tragedy, while nothing will take away this heartache and this pain from this family,” Colbert says, "...perhaps someone could take action to make sure that there are some ways to record what is happening in these helicopters so that it doesn't happen as often." Fellow late night hosts Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, James Corden, and Conan O'Brien all shared their own tributes to Kobe as well.