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Obituaries

Kobe Bryant Helicopter Pilot Misjudged Terrain/Didn’t Slow Down

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CALABASAS (TMZ) — The pilot of the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant, his daughter and 6 other passengers got in big trouble with fog — they seemed to abort the trip and tried returning home, barely clearing one mountain range, but never slowed down … this according to the flight tracker and several experienced helicopter pilots in the L.A. area.

As we reported, the pilot had to circle near the Downtown L.A. area — near the L.A. Zoo — for 15 minutes because of bad weather ahead. As we reported … the LAPD had grounded its helicopter fleet because of fog at around the same time Kobe’s helicopter took off.

The pilot was following a visual flight plan and was cleared by the tower to proceed north, toward Thousand Oaks where Kobe was taking his daughter for a basketball game. When he got to the Calabasas area, the fog became blinding.

As reported, the pilot was way too low —  at 1,250 feet. The pilots we spoke with say it’s clear based on the abrupt change on the flight tracker … the pilot panicked and quickly ascended to 2,000 feet. We’re told he cleared a mountain range by 100 feet, and the pilots we spoke with say he was so low he almost certainly saw the tops of the mountain.

The pilots we spoke with — all of whom have extensive experience — say based on the flight tracker and the accident scene, they believe the pilot felt he had cleared all of the mountains and was proceeding to head back when he hit another mountain. The pilot clearly did not know there were mountains ahead because he actually descended from 2,000 feet to 1,700 feet … presumably to go under the fog.

Even more baffling, we’ve been told the pilot was extremely experienced flying in that area — and was even a flight instructor. One seasoned helicopter pilot told TMZ, he could not understand why Kobe’s pilot would have maintained a speed of 161 knots in such dense fog. One of the benefits of a helicopter is you can go much slower — even 15 mph — to gingerly avoid terrain if you’re uncertain.

Our sources say the chopper was sophisticated and had an altitude warning signal to pull up, but it was too late. As we said, he was doing 161 knots and didn’t slow down. The helicopter hit the mountain at that speed.

Several of the pilots we spoke with say the pilot should have gone up to clear the fog, rather than down. To that end, we’re told the pilot could have slowed down to almost a stop as he turned, but didn’t.

The NTSB revealed the helicopter was not equipped with a black box, nor was it required to be. There was, however, an iPad on board used for flight itinerary, weather conditions and other flight elements that investigators will look at. The NTSB is also asking the public for photos of the weather in the area Sunday morning to determine flying conditions.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

TMZ refers to to a studio-established “thirty mile zone” to monitor rules for filming in Hollywood. The center of the zone was the offices of The Association of Motion Pictures and Television Producers, formerly at Beverly and La Cienega Boulevard. Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check https://www.tmz.com/shows/ for syndicated/local listings at the bottom of the page)

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Obituaries

Marnie the Dog, Famous Instagram Tongue-Out Pup, Dies at 18

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Marnie the Dog, Famous Tongue-Out Pup, Dies at 18

(TMZ) — Marnie the Dog — the Internet-famous pooch who was known for her tongue-out expression — has died.

The Shih Tzu’s owner, Shirley Braha, announced the tragic news on Instagram, writing … “It is with much grief I share the news that Marnie passed away painlessly and peacefully in my home at the age of 18.”

She continued, “Her comfort had been notably declining over the past few days with little hope for improvement and she let me know she had had enough. She enjoyed her chicken until the very end.” Braha goes on to thank everyone for embracing Marnie, explaining how her dog put her on the journey of a lifetime and how grateful she was for the love.

Braha ends her tribute post with a bit of info, and somewhat of a forewarning too … saying Marnie will be buried at a pet cemetery in L.A., adding there’ll hopefully be a public memorial for her whenever it’s safe to hold one, in light of the coronavirus and all.

Marnie was adopted from an animal shelter in 2012 at the ripe age of 11 years old. Soon after, she went on to achieve viral fame because of her freakishly long (but super cute) tongue, which inexplicably hung out of her mouth at almost all times.

Marnie has posed with countless celebs over the years, including Jonah Hill, Tina Fey, Demi Lovato, James Franco, Betty White, Ed Sheeran, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Larry King, Aaron Paul, Usher, Selena Gomez, Lena Dunham, Riff Raff, Jason Schwartzman and more.

Shirley Braha

She once shot down an invitation to the “World Dog Awards” because, apparently, Marnie and co. felt she was too big for it. She might’ve been right — Marnie got her own book deal at one point.

The doggo was 18 years old.

RIP, Marnie.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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Celebrity News

Pop Smoke Will Be Laid to Rest in Brooklyn

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Pop Smoke Death Certificate Reveals Burial Plans, Doctor's Efforts to Save Him

LOS ANGELES (TMZ) — Doctors tried to save Pop Smoke‘s life by opening his chest after he was rushed to the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds.

Pop Smoke’s death certificate, obtained by TMZ, says doctors performed a thoracotomy on the left side of his chest — meaning they opened his chest, most likely attempting to remove bullets.

As we first reported, he was hit multiple times when masked assailants broke into the Hollywood Hills home where he was staying.

Pop Smoke’s cause of death was a gunshot wound to the torso, according to the document. It says the time between the shooting and his death was “rapid.”

The rapper — born Bashar Barakah Jackson — died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at 5:12 AM.

The document also reveals his body was transported back to his native Brooklyn. Pop Smoke’s family held a private ceremony last weekend for close friends and family.

His final burial is now scheduled for later this week. Pop Smoke was 20.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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Celebrity News

Pink Taco Founder Harry Morton Died of Natural Causes per Coroner

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Harry Morton Patch

BEVERLY HILLS (Patch) — The Los Angeles County coroner’s office has announced that Harry Morton, founder of the Pink Taco restaurant chain and former owner of the Viper Room nightclub in West Hollywood, died of “probable cardiac arrhythmia,” and the manner of death was listed as “natural.”

Morton, 38, was found dead in his residence in the 500 block of Haynes Avenue in Beverly Hills about 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 23.

A secondary cause of death was listed by the coroner’s office as “myocardial bridging with coronary artery atherosclerosis.”

Morton’s father Peter co-founded the […]

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