Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas Sunday morning … TMZ Sports has confirmed.
CALABASAS (CA): TMZ reports, Kobe was traveling with three other people in his private helicopter when a fire broke out just before it went down.”Emergency personnel responded, but nobody on board survived. 5 people are confirmed dead. We’re told Vanessa Bryant was not among those on board.”, TMZ said.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Kobe has famously used a helicopter to travel for years — dating back to when he played for the Lakers. He was known for commuting from Newport Beach, CA to the STAPLES Center in DTLA in his Sikorsky S-76 chopper.
KB is survived by his wife Vanessa, and their four daughters — Gianna, Natalia and Bianca and their newborn Capri.
Later this afternoon, officials confirmed that Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine people killed in the helicopter crash on Sunday.
Bryant, who won five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, is widely considered one of the best players in NBA history.
41-year-old Bryant ran his production company and coached his daughter’s middle school team during his retirement years.
Four other victims were identified on Sunday. John Altobelli, the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College, was killed along with his wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa. Christina Mauser, a girl’s basketball coach, also died in the crash.
Dr. Jonathan Lucas, Los Angeles County’s chief medical examiner’s office said that recovery and official identification could take days due to the terrain and the condition of the crash site.
Statement from Michael Jordan: pic.twitter.com/oI7w6e7HLI
— Estee Portnoy (@esteep) January 26, 2020
In an interview with CBS News Chavez Clark, “NBA legend Magic Johnson spoke movingly about Bryant’s legacy on and off the court in an emotional phone interview with CBS Los Angeles.”
“I thought he was going to live forever. I thought he was invincible,” said Johnson. “He played like that. He walked like that. He was a confident young man.”
In the heartfelt tribute, Johnson shared moments that he had with Bryant, and reflected on their relationship, his impact on the city of Los Angeles and his role as a father.
“We will always remember what Kobe Bryant did on the court. We will remember what he did off the court and for the city. I do not think right now that we can put it into words what he meant for Los Angeles. I will miss him,” Johnson shared.
“When you put on that uniform, the Laker uniform, there was nobody who took more pride in being a Laker than Kobe. It was amazing.”
Johnson played point guard for the Lakers for 13 seasons before he retired. Bryant played all 20 seasons with the Lakers, winning three consecutive championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
“We need Kobe to be around. And our kids who idolized him. And the fan base who idolized him. There was more for him to do. He died way too early. And he left quite a legacy,” Johnson said.
“He was special. God created the special basketball player and the special man. We will miss him, ” he continued. “He impacted the world. And very few athletes get to impact the world like Kobe Bryant did.”