Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. His 13 year old daughter, Gianna, and seven others were on board. No one survived.
Sources report that Bryant and the seven others were on their way to a basketball game in his private helicopter when it went down. The other passengers included former head coach of the Brewster Whitecaps, his wife Keri, and daughter Alyssa.
It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Kobe Bryant and four others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. The aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 this morning. Nobody on the ground was hurt. The FAA and NTSB are investigating.
— City of Calabasas (@CityofCalabasas) January 26, 2020
The LA Times report that the helicopter was traveling in foggy conditions in the hills above Calabasas when it crashed and burst into flames on Sunday morning.
Calabasas residents have told the media that they heard “a failing noise” and that is was clear “something was wrong”.
Emergency services responded immediately, but LA County Sheriffs quickly announced on Twitter that all passengers were deceased.
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) January 26, 2020
Tributes have begun pouring in for the icon of the game, his daughter (an aspiring basketball talent in her own right) and the other passengers on board.
Amongst the tributes is Shaquille O’Neal, who has posted a photo of the two in their LA Lakers hay-days. O’Neal captioned the photo saying he is speechless over this “tragic and sad moment” and feels physically sick over losing his friend, teammate, and “brother”.
View this post on Instagram
There are no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of loosing my neice Gigi & my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you and you will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW !
O’Neal’s son, Shareef O’Neal, tweeted out his last text message with Bryant just before the crash.
Literally this morning you reached out to me ….😔 I love you forever unc❤️ I love you pic.twitter.com/3oVgvKKUkm
— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) January 26, 2020
Teams and players from across the NBA and sporting codes around the world have also paid respect to a sporting superstar. As well as the words from countless other stars that have watched, worshipped, learned, or met Bryant and his family.
Rest In Peace, Kobe.
You were so much bigger than basketball. You have and will continue to impact so many lives.
Our hearts go out to the Bryant’s and all passengers on board.
Mamba Mentality forever. pic.twitter.com/WRDYKxR9al
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) January 26, 2020
Michael Jordan on the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna pic.twitter.com/z0Ja0hf9QX
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 26, 2020
I’m sad to hear that we lost one of our greats. @kobebryant was one of the greatest athletes and was such an inspiration to so many including myself. I’m deeply saddened for his family and for the people around the world who looked up to him. May he and his daughter rest in peace pic.twitter.com/O4ZWANcGKm
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) January 26, 2020
So sad to hear the heartbreaking news of the deaths of Kobe and his daughter Gianna. Kobe was a true legend and inspiration to so many. Sending my condolences to his family and friends and the families of all who lost their lives in the crash. RIP Legend💔 pic.twitter.com/qKb3oiDHxH
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) January 26, 2020
Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 26, 2020
Kobe was truly larger than life, a legend. May he and all those who lost their lives today rest in peace. Love and condolences to his family. LA will never be the same.
— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) January 26, 2020
Kobe won the Best Animated Short #AcademyAward for writing & narrating #DearBasketball (music by #JohnWilliams)-It was his heartfelt love-letter to the game that made him a legend & a superstar. It was an honor to present him his much-deserved Oscar.#GoneTooSoon #RIPGiannaBryant pic.twitter.com/ka9raxRYhm
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) January 27, 2020
Footage has emerged of current Lakers star Lebron James being visibly emotional when exiting the Lakers’ team plane after hearing about the tragedy.
Less than 24-hours prior, James had overtaken Bryant for third-place on the all-time scoring list. Bryant’s last tweet was in congratulations to The King.
LeBron James was in tears after the Lakers’ team plane landed following the death of Kobe Bryant.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) January 26, 2020
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020
NBA teams who are playing on the night of this tragedy have been taking 24-second shot-clock violations in honour of Bryant’s retired number. The Orlando Magic also paid tribute to Bryant’s earlier jersey number, with an 8-second violation during their game that evening.
𝟐𝟒 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐍𝐨. 𝟐𝟒
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) January 26, 2020
Of course, Lakers fans (and fans of the NBA, widely) are heartbroken for the loss of the player affectionately known as ‘Black Mamba’. #RIPMAMBA has been trending on Twitter for hours.
— Nicole Cobas (@nicoleocobas) January 26, 2020
— Jamie Hernandez (@jamiebhernandez) January 26, 2020
Hundreds have gathered at the Staples Centre – the Lakers’ and Bryant’s homeground – chanting “Thank you, Kobe” and laying flowers and Lakers memorabilia at the gates.
— ABS-CBN News Channel (@ANCALERTS) January 26, 2020
Staples Center gets filled with
“THANK YOU KOBE” chants 😢
— Ball Realm (@TheBallRealm) January 26, 2020
Thank you for the great memories, Kobe! You are loved and will be missed. Our hearts are with your loved ones during this very hard time. May you and your daughter, Gianna Rest In Peace. #KobeBryant pic.twitter.com/zVMbjzML87
— Philippe’s (The OG) (@PhilippetheOG) January 26, 2020
Shouting “Kobe” whenever I throw something just wont feel the same anymore, rest in peace man.
— Jack (@J4CKMULL) January 26, 2020
It truly is a sad day. Rest in Peace, Mamba, Gianna, and all the other passengers on board.
More to come, check back for updates.