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Basketball legend, Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash

US basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna are among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in the city of Calabasas, California.

Bryant, 41, was travelling in a private helicopter when it came down and burst into flames.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the helicopter manifest indicated that nine people were on board when it crashed, raising the number from five in earlier statements by officials.




In a statement on Sunday afternoon, the City of Calabasas said it heard the news “with great sadness”.

“The aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 this morning. Nobody on the ground was hurt,” it added.

The LA county sheriff added that there were no survivors.



The National Transportation Safety Board identified the crashed helicopter as a Sikorsky S-76B and said it was sending a team to investigate the crash.

Police have asked people to stay away from the crash site in order not to interfere with the investigation.

Who was Bryant?

Bryant played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He retired in April 2016.

His achievements include being the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also NBA scoring champion twice and a two-time Olympic champion.

Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, played for the LA Lakers throughout his career and is considered one of the greatest players in the game’s history.

He famously scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006, the second-highest single-game total in NBA history.

He also won an Oscar for best short animated film in 2018 for Dear Basketball, a five-minute film based on a love letter to the sport he had written in 2015.




Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, have three other daughters, Natalia, Bianca and Capri.

Bryant was accused of sexual assault in 2003 by a 19-year-old woman working at a Colorado resort. He denied the allegation, saying the two had consensual sex. The case was dropped after the accuser refused to testify in court.

He later apologised, saying he recognised that “she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did.” A subsequent civil suit was settled out of court.

Tributes from celebrities and fellow sports stars have been pouring in, many expressing shock at his sudden death.

Moments of silence have been observed at basketball games across the US.



Bryant has also been remembered at the Grammy Awards which are being held at the Los Angeles Lakers’ stadium.

“We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now,” said Grammys host Alicia Keys.

“Because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero. We’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”

The NBA issued a statement saying it was “devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna” aged 13.

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” it said.





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