Former Los Angeles Lakers star and NBA legend Kobe Bryant has died in Calabasas following a fatal helicopter crash, according to TMZ. He was 41 years old.
The initial report stated Bryant and at least three other people were on his private helicopter when it went down, killing everyone on board sometime Sunday morning:
Kobe Bryant died in a helicoper crash in Calabasas Sunday morning … TMZ Sports has confirmed.Kobe was traveling with at least 3 other people in his private helicopter when it went down. A fire broke out. Emergency personnel responded, but nobody on board survived. 5 people are confirmed dead. We're told Vanessa Bryant was not among those on board. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
The LA County Sheriff's Department initially confirmed five people were killed in a helicopter accident, with an investigation said to be ongoing.
WPLG and other news outlets, including ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, have reported on Kobe Bryant's death as well. His wife Vanessa was reportedly not on the flight, but TMZ is reporting that Kobe's daughter Gigi also died in the accident.
TMZ also noted Bryant frequently traveled via private helicopter even during his playing days, often flying from Newport Beach, CA to the Staples Center for games and practices.
Kobe Bryant's final tweet was a message to LeBron James after the Lakers star passed him on the all-time scoring list:
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020
This is a tragic loss for the NBA community, and people from all around the basketball world have already begun to weigh in on this sad day.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to note the tragic death of Kobe's daughter GiGi in the crash after initial reports suggested all four of Kobe's daughters were safe.
Editor's note No. 2: The LA County Sheriff says nine people died in the crash.