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Kobe Bryant (Photo: Wikimedia/Michael Wa)

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Kobe Bryant, 41, dies in helicopter crash

Tragic news hit the sports world today as it was announced that NBA basketball legend Kobe Bryant had been one of nine people to pass away in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. He was only 41-years-old. Sadly, Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna also passed away in the crash. Reps for the former NBA star confirmed Bryant’s wife, with whom he has four children including Gianna — was not on board the helicopter.

Kobe’s name had hit the news just yesterday as LeBron James passed him for third in all-time career points in the NBA. In true Kobe form, he congratulated King James in the form of a tweet: “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644” – with the hashtag making reference to LeBron’s new point total.

Bryant, the 13th overall pick in the 1996 draft, was the first guard in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons, and put up a whopping 33,643 points (25.0 ppg) during his career. He was a 5-time NBA champion (2000-2002, 2009, 2010), a 2-time NBA Playoffs MVP, the NBA’s MVP in 2008, and the recipient of a slew of other major awards including 11 All-NBA First Team appearances.

At this time, limited details have been revealed about the crash or the other passengers. According to CNN, the “helicopter involved in the crash today that killed Kobe Bryant was a Sikorsky S-76, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The tail number matches a helicopter Bryant has owned for years. The chopper was adorned with his logo.”

 
NBA legend Kobe Bryant, 41, dies in helicopter crash

Kobe Bryant

Several notable people have reacted to Bryant’s death, with several issuing statements. From Wayne Gretzky to Israelie prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bryan’t death has been felt around the world, with thousands of condelences message flooding social media by the minute.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti released a statement just before 1 p.m. PST:

“Kobe Bryant was a giant who inspired, amazed, and thrilled people everywhere with his incomparable skill on the court — and awed us with his intellect and humility as a father, husband, creative genius, and ambassador for the game he loved. He will live forever in the heart of Los Angeles, and will be remembered through the ages as one of our greatest heroes. This is a moment that leaves us struggling to find words that express the magnitude of shock and sorrow we are all feeling right now, and I am keeping Kobe’s entire family in my prayers at this time of unimaginable grief.”

Our condolences to the families and friends of the victims.


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