NBA legend Kobe Bryant and daughter killed in tragic helicopter crash

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter have been killed in a helicopter crash in California.

As first reported by TMZ, nine people including Bryant were killed on Sunday after his private helicopter went down in Calabasas, about 65 kilometres northwest of Los Angeles.

TRIBUTES FLOW: Sporting world and Hollywood rocked by Kobe's death

There has also been confirmation that Bryant’s daughter Gianna Maria Onore was among those killed.

The NBA reportedly sent out an email to players and staff confirming both deaths.

Gianna is also a basketball player and coached by her dad. He credited her with getting him back into watching the game and they’ve been seen courtside and NBA and WNBA games over the past few months.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported sources that Bryant “was on his way to a travel basketball game with his daughter Gianna when the helicopter crashed. Those aboard the helicopter also included another player and parent.”

Kobe Bryant holds the Larry O'Brien Trophy and the Bill Russell MVP Trophy in 2010. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Bryant’s wife Vanessa is not believed to have been on board.

They had four children together - Natalia, 17, Gianna, 13, Bianka, 3, and newborn Capri.

(L-R) Vanessa Laine Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Natalia Diamante Bryant and Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant in 2018. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

The Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department responded to reports of a helicopter that crashed into a hillside and caught fire.

The crash was called in at 9:47am local time, and flames that spread a quarter acre were put out by 10:30am.

The fire department reported no survivors.

The helicopter was described as a Sikorsky S-76, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.

The crash came only hours after the 41-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers star was passed by current Lakers star LeBron James for third on the all-time NBA scoring list in a Saturday game at Philadelphia.

"Continuing to move the game forward (at)KingJames," Bryant wrote in his last tweet. "Much respect my brother."

Bryant was a five-time NBA champion in a career that began in 1996 and lasted until his retirement in 2016.

He also was a two-time Olympic gold medalist, helping spark the US squad of NBA stars to titles in 2008 at Beijing and 2012 at London.

Kobe Bryant in action for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

NBA world in shock over Kobe’s death

Tributes have been flowing on social media after the tragic news.

With Yahoo Sports US and agencies