Monday 27 January 2020 6:37 AM UTC
Los Angeles Jan 27: NBA legend Kobe Bryant died Sunday when a helicopter crashed and burst into flames in foggy conditions in suburban Los Angeles, leaving five people dead, US media reported on Sunday.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials said there were no survivors from the morning crash on a rugged hillside in Calabasas, west of Los Angeles.
The helicopter was described as a Sikorsky S-76, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.
TMZ was the first US outlet to report that Bryant was among the fatalities. The NBA icon’s death was later confirmed by ESPN, CNN and the Los Angeles Times citing unidentified sources.
TMZ reported that Bryant’s wife, Vanessa was not among those on board the helicopter.
Early reports of Bryant’s death sent shockwaves throughout the world, with fellow stars and celebrities expressing disbelief at the news.
“I’m stunned,” wrote Hall-of-Fame NBA star Scottie Pippen. “Words can’t even come close to describing it. Just an incredibly sad and tragic day.”
“This can’t be true,” Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic wrote on Twitter. “No please.”
Tennis great Martina Navratilova added: “Gone much too soon, how devastating to hear of his passing, he gave joy to so many for so long – deep condolences to his family, his friends, his Laker family. RIP Kobe.”
At the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, dozens of shocked fans gathered to pay tribute to the star.
The crash came only hours after the 41-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers icon was passed by current Lakers star LeBron James for third on the all-time NBA scoring list in a Saturday game at Philadelphia.
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