Kylie Jenner Remembers Ara Zobayan, Pilot Killed in Kobe Bryant Crash: ‘He Was Such a Nice Man’

Natalie Stone
Kylie Jenner Remembers Ara Zobayan, Pilot Killed in Kobe Bryant Crash: ‘He Was Such a Nice Man’

Kylie Jenner is mourning the loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and the seven other victims who died in Sunday’s tragic helicopter crash.

“Rest in peace … and prayers to these families. I still can’t believe this,” the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star, 22, wrote Monday on her Instagram Story alongside photos and names of the nine victims.

RELATED: Kourtney and Khloé Kardashian Mourn Kobe Bryant’s Death After Helicopter Crash Near Their Homes

The Kylie Cosmetics founder also revealed that she had a personal connection with the aircraft’s late pilot, Ara Zobayan.

“That was the helicopter I would fly on from time to time with that pilot, Ara. He was such a nice man. Hold your loved ones close,” she wrote, adding a white heart emoji.

Kylie Jenner's Instagram Story

Jenner also posted a smiling photo of the late Lakers legend and Gianna to Instagram on Sunday, writing, “at loss for words right now. praying for this beautiful family.”

On Sunday, Bryant was on his way to a youth basketball game with Gianna and the other passengers when the helicopter crashed, according to ESPN. That same day, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby and other authorities held a press conference to address the crash.

“All survivors were determined to have been perished,” Osby said, adding it took authorities eight minutes to get to the crash site.

Villanueva confirmed a total of nine victims. The National Transportation Safety Board confirmed the aircraft was a Sikorsky S-76.

RELATED: 911 Caller Says Helicopter Crash that Killed Kobe Bryant & Daughter Was ‘Over in a Quarter Second’

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna | Paul Bereswill/Getty

A source told PEOPLE that Zobayan was “extremely experienced” as a pilot.

“He had a lot of respect for flying and would never take risks. He knew the valley very well. The area where they crashed was not a new area for him. He was very familiar with that area,” the source said. “It’s just such a shock. There are no words to express how much Ara will be missed and how sad everyone is about the passengers that died. It’s just such a painful tragedy. So many families affected and so much pain.”

In addition to being a flight instructor, Zobayan had 20 years of experience flying in Southern California, according to The New York Times.

RELATED VIDEO: Shannon Beador Mourns Coach Killed in Kobe Bryant Crash: ‘Amazing Influence on All 3 of My Daughters’

Girls basketball coach Christina Mauser, of Harbor Day School in Orange County, was also one of the nine aboard the private helicopter. John Altobelli, the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College, too was on board the aircraft — alongside his wife Keri Altobelli and their daughter, Alyssa Altobelli, the school confirmed in a statement on their website.

On Monday, two more victims were identified. Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton Chester of Orange County were on board the aircraft, according to The New York Times. St. Margaret’s Episcopal School confirmed the news in a memo obtained by PEOPLE, in which the school said Payton was enrolled in eighth grade and Sarah served on its board of trustees.

Jenner’s sisters Kim Kardashian West, Kourtney Kardashian and Khloé Kardashian also honored Bryant and his daughter on social media. The reality stars were family friends with the Bryants, and Kourtney and Khloé live in Calabasas, the neighborhood where the helicopter crashed. Plus, Khloé’s ex-husband Lamar Odom was Bryant’s longtime friend and teammate.

“I’m still waiting for the media to come out and say wrong report,” Odom, 40, wrote in a lengthy Instagram tribute. “No way God took my brother this early.”

Bryant is survived by Vanessa, 37, and three of their four children together: daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.