The singer, 39, posted a tribute to them on social media Monday with a picture her husband, Eric Johnson, took of the mountain landscape where the incident occurred.
“Eric took this photo from our backyard right after the accident happened where Kobe, his daughter, and other beautiful souls were lifted up to be with God for eternity,” Simpson wrote. “We could see the emergency helicopters flying over our house and I felt the loss. I felt the power in the sky of the heavens parting to make room for the greatest of angels to rise.
“My heart is completely broken for all the families and loved ones left behind trying to make sense of things in this tragic moment,” the fashion designer added. “Vanessa, you are the woman and wife that championed your husband to greatness. My prayers are constant for everyone affected by this impactful loss.
The NBA star was 41 years old. His daughter Gianna was 13.
According to ESPN, Kobe, Gianna and the other passengers were on their way to a youth basketball game when the crash happened.
The other people on board include Orange Country residents Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton Chester, 13; college baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, his wife, Keri Altobelli, daughter Alyssa Altobell;, basketball coach Christina Mauser, and the pilot Ara Zobayan.
The helicopter was given a special flight clearance to fly through the fog from Orange County toward the Los Angeles area, which meant they could enter Burbank air space, The New York Times reported Monday, citing audio records between the pilot and Burbank Airport’s air traffic control.
Officials in Los Angeles said late Sunday that dense fog likely played a role in the crash. Several experts pointed to the poor flying conditions in the area and said fog will likely play a key part in the investigation, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Bryant’s helicopter left Santa Ana in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, shortly after 9 a.m. and circled for a time just east of Interstate 5, near Glendale. Air traffic controllers noted poor visibility around Burbank, just to the north, and Van Nuys, to the northwest.
After holding up the helicopter for other aircraft, they cleared the Sikorsky S-76 to proceed north along Interstate 5 through Burbank before turning west to follow U.S Route 101, the Ventura Highway.
Shortly after 9:40 a.m., the helicopter turned again, toward the southeast, and climbed to more than 2,000 feet. It then descended and crashed into the hillside at about 1,400 feet, according to data from Flightradar24.
The Bryants leave behind wife/mother Vanessa, 37, and three of their four daughters/sisters: Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos and Edmund DeMarche contributed to this report.