Updated: Jan 27
Legendary NBA player Kobe Bryant has died in a California helicopter crash, reports said Sunday. He was 41.
Kobe's daughter Gianna Maria Onore aka GiGi was also on board the helicopter and died in the crash. She was 13.
Kobe was traveling with at least 7 other people in his private helicopter over Calabasas when it went down. A fire broke out.
They were on their way to the Mamba Academy for a basketball practice when the crash occurred. The Academy is in nearby Thousand Oaks.
The crash occurred around 10 a.m. local time amid foggy conditions in the hills overlooking Calabasas, with the chopper sparking a brush fire on impact that hampered initial rescue efforts, according to The Los Angeles Times.
There were no survivors, and the cause of the crash is under investigation, according to TMZ.
Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, was not among those aboard the chopper, according to reports. He is also survived by the couple’s three daughters, with the youngest born just last June.
Bryant starred for two decades with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five championships and making 18 All-Star Games before hanging up his basketball shoes following the 2016 season.
The stunning death of the sweet-shooting guard came just hours after he toasted fellow NBA icon and current Laker LeBron James for passing him for third place on the league’s all-time scoring list.
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames,” wrote Bryant on Saturday night in what would prove to be his final tweet. “Much respect my brother.”
Bryant concluded the message with an emoji of a bicep flexing, and the hashtag “#33644,” one point more than he scored in his illustrious career.
Bryant was considered a lock to be among the next class inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, set to be announced next month.