CANTON, Ohio -- The widow of Thurman Munson, the New York Yankees' catcher killed in 1979 while flying his plane in Ohio, spoke about the similar death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant -- saying the response to her husband's tragic death helped her get through it.
Diana Munson was in the Plain Township home she shared with her husband when she received the news that the Los Angeles Lakers' icon had died Sunday, the Canton Repository reported.
"My first thought was, 'This can't possibly be true. We're not supposed to lose heroes like this,''' Diana said. "And obviously it brought up our day, with the memories of how it hit everyone.''
Thurman Munson was 32 when he died in a plane crash at the Akron-Canton Airport in August 1979. His Cessna twin-engine crashed short of the runway and burst into flames. He left behind his wife, two daughters and a son.
Bryant died alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna on Sunday when their helicopter crashed outside of Los Angeles, killing all nine aboard. Bryant also leaves behind his wife and three daughters.
Like with Munson's death, Bryant's death prompted a nationwide outpouring of sadness and disbelief from fans and fellow players.
"We have something that other people don't have, because people lose people they love every day, but they don't have that outpouring of love and support,'' Diana Munson said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.