He was 41.
The retired Los Angeles Lakers star was traveling in his private helicopter over Calabasas when a fire broke out, sending the chopper spiraling from the sky, according to TMZ Sports.
The crash occurred around 10 a.m. local time amid foggy conditions in the hills overlooking Calabasas, with the Sikorsky S-76 chopper sparking a brush fire on impact that hampered initial rescue efforts, according to The Los Angeles Times, which confirmed the deaths of Bryant and four others aboard the craft.
Former US basketball player Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash. This is reported by several US media, including TV broadcaster ABC and the Washington Post . Bryant was 41 years old. The long-time LA Lakers player is considered one of the greatest basketball players in sports history.
According to CNN, a total of five people died in the crash in Calabasas, California. The fire department said there were no survivors on board. The cause of the crash is still being investigated, the police did not reveal the identity of the other victims.
Bryant was born into a family of athletes in Philadelphia in 1978. His father was former NBA basketball player Joe Bryant, his mother was former Los Angeles Sparks coach Pamela Cox. He was already an exceptional basketball player in the high school league, from 1996 to 2016 he played as a professional for the Los Angeles Lakers and between 2008 and 2012 in the US national team.
With the Lakers, Bryant developed into one of the best-known basketball players in the NBA and won the championship five times. In 2008, the father of four daughters was named the most valuable player in the top US basketball league. Throughout his career, he was among 15 league All-Star teams, more than any other NBA player. It wasn’t until Saturday that LeBron James pushed him out of third place on the all-time NBA leaderboard. German basketball player Dirk Nowitzki called Bryant “Michael Jordan of our generation” in 2016.
“One of the greatest sportsmen”
US President Donald Trump tweeted that Bryant’s death was “terrible news”. Several active and former NBA players were shocked by Bryant’s death. Former German player Detlef Schrempf wrote on Twitter: “Unreal. Kobe dead at 41. Prayers go to the families of all five victims.” NBA professional Joel Embiid also expressed his condolences on Twitter. Embiid wrote that he had only started playing basketball because of Bryant . Ex-professional Dennis Rodman wrote that he was “crushed” and prayed for the deceased’s family. English football legend Gary Lineker called Bryant “one of the greatest sportsmen of our life” on Twitter . American football star Tom Brady wrote: “
The foggy weather in the mountains was mentioned as a possible cause. The helicopter went up in flames immediately after the impact and triggered a bush fire, which made the work of the rescue workers more difficult.
From his beginnings in the league in 1996 until his career end in 2016, the “Black Mamba” played exclusively for the Los Angeles Lakers and became a club and league legend. His shirt numbers 8 and 24 are no longer assigned.
Bryant was only 41 years old. Together with his wife, he has four daughters. The youngest is only seven months old.