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.
Sources have confirmed Kobe Bryant was reportedly on his way to a travel basketball game with his daughter Gianna when the helicopter crashed.— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) January 26, 2020
Updated story ➡️ https://t.co/fIqBtOApgl pic.twitter.com/m4VQTIhHDj
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.”
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.
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.
Kobe Bryant is among those dead in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles, a source confirms to ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 26, 2020
Sources: Kobe 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.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 26, 2020
This is truly beyond devastating. Praying for Vanessa and the family. Such a massive loss we’re all suffering through. https://t.co/DzluzCVi1b— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 26, 2020
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."
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020
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.
NBA world in shock over Kobe’s death
Tributes have been flowing on social media after the tragic news.
This Kobe news doesn't seem real. An absolute icon of our generation not only for how he played but his mindset on everything he did. R.I.P.— Mason Cox (@masonsixtencox) January 26, 2020
This is not real right now— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) January 26, 2020
Please don’t tell me this is true . Not Kobe— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) January 26, 2020
NO PLEASE🙏— Luka Doncic (@luka7doncic) January 26, 2020
Kobe Bryant was a marvel. He was just 41. My heart goes out to his loved ones. May he Rest In Peace.— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) January 26, 2020
Thinking of Kobe’s beautiful family as well as the families of the other passengers. 💔 https://t.co/WPXfCfzjCR— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) January 26, 2020
He was great,charismatic & among the hardest-working athletes ever,but what impressed me most was how deeply-involved Kobe was with his 4 daughters. Pray for them, Vanessa, his parents & his fellow passengers' families on this sad and shocking day. We will never forget you Kobe— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) January 26, 2020
With Yahoo Sports US and agencies