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Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has been killed in a helicopter crash at the age of 41.
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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement today regarding the passing of Kobe Bryant: “The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. “For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals. But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna. “We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world.”
TMZ were the first to report the tragic news, with Yahoo! Sports revealing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department responded to reports of a helicopter that crashed into a Calabasas hillside and caught fire on Sunday morning.
My friend, a legend, husband, father, son, brother, Oscar winner and greatest Laker of all-time is gone. It’s hard to accept. Kobe was a leader of our game, a mentor to both male and female players. pic.twitter.com/NXsrXmCkkG
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 26, 2020
According to TMZ, all nine people onboard the iconic NBA legend’s private helicopter died, including Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria Onore – a rising star basketball player.
TMZ reports they were on their way to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball practice.
A memorial to Kobe has set up outside of the Staples Center.