Kobe Bryant's wife files bombshell lawsuit hours before public memorial

Kobe Bryant's widow on Monday sued the owner of the helicopter that crashed in fog and killed the former Los Angeles Lakers star and their 13-year-old daughter last month.

The wrongful death lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant in Los Angeles Superior Court said the pilot was careless and negligent by flying in cloudy conditions on January 26 and should have aborted the flight.

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Pilot Ara Zobayan was among the nine people killed in the crash.

The lawsuit names Island Express Helicopters Inc. and also targets Zobayan's legal representative, listed only as “Doe 1” until a name can be determined.

Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit asserts that Zobayan was negligent in eight different ways, including failing to properly assess the weather, flying into conditions he wasn’t cleared for and failing to control the helicopter.

Vanessa Bryant paid an emotional tribute to Kobe and Gianna at their public memorial. Image: Getty

The lawsuit was filed as a public memorial service for Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and all the victims, including Zobayan, was being held at the arena where Bryant played most of his career.

Calls to Island Express seeking comment were not answered and its voicemail was full.

The company issued a statement January 30 on its website saying the shock of the crash had prompted it to suspend service until it was appropriate for staff and customers.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash into a hillside in Calabasas on the outskirts of Los Angeles County.

Emotional scenes at Kobe Bryant memorial

Monday's memorial for Bryant and his daughter Gianna has drawn a sellout crowd to Staples Centre in downtown Los Angeles.

The event began with Beyonce singing her hits ‘XO’ and ‘Halo.’ An emotional Jimmy Kimmel told the audience about the many Kobe murals that have appeared around the city since his death last month.

Bryant's widow, Vanessa, brought tears to people's eyes as she spoke, giving an intimate portrait of her husband and daughter.

She said the world saw Kobe as a celebrity and basketball legend - the Black Mamba - but to her he was her best friend and protector.

Vanessa described him as a loving husband and devoted father with a tender heart who was “the MVP of girl dads.”

Vanessa Bryant speaks during The Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant at Staples Centre. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

He loved to watch romantic movies with them and put them to bed every night.

“God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together,” Vanessa said to close her remarks.

“Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I’ve got Nana [Natalia], BB [Bianca] and Coco [Capri]. We’re still the best team.

“We love and miss you, Boo boo and Gigi. May you both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day. We love you both and miss you. Forever and always. Mommy.”

Vanessa said she and Kobe planned to renew their vows and travel the world together.

They talked about how they looked forward to becoming the “cool grandparents” after their kids have their own children.

with Yahoo Sports Staff