Basketball legend Kobe Bryant, daughter among dead in chopper crash
Tributes pour in as authorities begin investigation
National Basketball Association (NBA) and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas on Sunday, officials in the Californian city confirmed.
TMZ.com first reported the news.
The City of Calabasas' official Twitter account confirmed the incident.
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
Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also on board and among those killed.
Calabasas added that the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating.
Tributes from fellow athletes, celebrities and fans have poured in. US President Donald Trump on Twitter called Bryant 'great' and that the accident was 'terrible news'. People have also gathered outside the Lakers' home court, Staples Center in Los Angeles, to pay their respects.
A moment of silence was also observed in the first game of the NBA's slate on Sunday between the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets.
The defending champion Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs, on the other hand, took a 24-second violation each to start their game, a reference to Bryant's jersey number; he also wore 8 in the first half of his career. Both numbers have been retired by the Lakers - a rarity in sports.
Bryant, 41, was on his way to a basketball game when the crash occurred at around 10am local time.
He was in Philadelphia to attend the Lakers' game against the Sixers, where LeBron James, the new face of the Lakers' franchise, surpassed him to become the NBA's third all-time scoring leader.
Bryant - who went directly to the NBA from high school at age 18 in 1996 - was a five-time champion, one-time most valuable player, 18-time All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, among several other accolades, in the NBA. He was a career Laker, having suited up for the franchise in all of his 20 seasons in the league.
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