Widower of Kobe Bryant helicopter crash victim auditions for ‘AGT’: ‘She would want me to carry on’

Kobe Bryant helicopter crash widower auditions for 'AGT': 'She would want me  to carry on'

There has been perhaps no introduction this America’s Got Talent season that stopped the hearts and dropped the jaws of the judging panel like that of Matt Mauser this week — when the 51-year-old Orange County musician and father of three shuffled humbly onstage Tuesday and stoically stated, “On Jan. 26, 2020, I lost my wife in the same helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant. … It’s been a rough year, but here I am.”

Matt and his wife Christina met in 2004 at one of his “dive bar” gigs, and she soon became his “greatest supporter.” The two were married for 15 years and were both schoolteachers, but when Matt, the frontman for SoCal party band the Tijuana Dogs and a part-time Frank Sinatra impersonator, quit teaching to focus on music, Christina took a job as a girls’ basketball coach at Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy (which has since been renamed Sports Academy). Matt additionally took a side gig composing music for a children’s podcast produced by Kobe, “The Punies.”