Girlfriend of Kobe Bryant’s helicopter pilot will ‘never be over’ his death: friend

The pilot of Kobe Bryant’s doomed helicopter left behind a girlfriend of 11 years who will “never be over” his death, a close friend has said.

Ara Zobayan — the NBA legend’s regular pilot and among the nine who died when he crashed Sunday — was devoted to girlfriend Tess Davidson, 47, and “every bit an adoptive father” to her two sons, close friend Jesse Clark told

“Tess will never be over it. That was the impact he had in her life,” Clark told the website, saying they were “everything that a married couple is” despite not having wed.

“He loved Tess beyond measure. That’s the saddest part,” Clark said of the pilot who crashed in heavy fog in Calabasas.

“Anybody that Ara touched in their life, I guarantee that they are suffering too,” said Clark, whose wife, Deborah, has flown from Oregon to Los Angeles to look after their bereaved friend.

Despite not being famous like the hoops great, Zobayan, 50, was “no different than Kobe” in that he was a “put a smile on your face kind of guy,” Clark insisted.

“He was every bit of an example of a man I would hope to be at his age,” the 37-year-old friend said. “He’s the kind of guy you just wish the world was infected with.”

Zobayan died alongside all those aboard his Sikorsky S-76B, including Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. Also killed were college baseball coach John Altobelli, his daughter Alyssa Altobelli and wife, Keri Altobelli; mom Sarah Chester and her 13-year-old daughter, Payton Chester; and girls’ basketball coach Christina Mauser.

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