US basketball legend Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday (Jan. 26), Hype Life Magazine has confirmed.
The five-time NBA champion and a two-time Olympic gold medalist was 41.
Nine people were on board when the helicopter went down near Calabasas at around 10 AM PT. There were no survivors.
Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Maria, was also on board, Hype Life Magazine has learned.
His wife Vanessa Bryant was reportedly not on the helicopter, according to TMZ.
Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and daughter Alyssa, who was a club basketball teammate of Gianna, also were among the crash victims. The other victims have not yet been identified.
Eyewitnesses told news site TMZ they heard the helicopter’s engine sputtering before it went down. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Just last night, LeBron James moved past Kobe Bryant for third place on the NBA’s career scoring list. Bryant had tweeted his congratulations to James.
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother ?? #33644,” he wrote on Twitter.
Kobe Bryant played his entire 20-year NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers and finished his career as one of the best to ever play the game.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was drafted into the NBA straight out of high school at the age of 17 in 1996.
He retired in 2016 a five-time NBA champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP and the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history.
Bryant was selected to an NBA record 18 consecutive NBA All-Star Games. He also won two gold medals while representing the USA in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.
He was married to Vanessa Bryant with whom he had four children: Bianka, Gianna, Natalia, and Capri, their youngest child, who was born in June 2019.
Tributes from celebrities and fellow sports stars have been pouring in, many expressing shock at his sudden death.