Basketball legend Kobe Bryant died on Sunday after his helicopter crashed and burst into flames in foggy conditions in suburban Los Angeles, killing all nine including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna on board.
The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed into a rugged hillside in Calabasas, west of Los Angeles. There were no survivors.
Bryant, 41, and his daughter were expected at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball game scheduled for Sunday afternoon, according to a report.
Kobe Bryant was a five-time NBA champion in a career that began in 1996 straight out of a high school and lasted until his retirement in 2016. He also was a two-time Olympic gold medalist, helping spark the US squad of NBA stars to titles in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London.
In 2018, he won an Oscar for his animated short film "Dear Basketball", a love letter to the sport which brought him fame and fortune.
Tributes to Kobe Bryant flooded in from all around the world.
US president Donald Trump paid his condolences.
.....Melania and I send our warmest condolences to Vanessa and the wonderful Bryant family. May God be with you all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2020
Former US president Barack Obama remembered Kobe as a legend on the basketball court. He tweeted:
Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 26, 2020
Former US president Bill Clinton said he was "deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant''. He tweeted:
I'm deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, & all who died in today's accident. Kobe lived a very large life in a very short time. My prayers are with Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, Capri, and all those who lost loved ones today. https://t.co/lSIEvT11as— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) January 27, 2020
Brazilian soccer star Neymar meanwhile paid tribute to Bryant after scoring for his French club side Paris Saint-Germain, making the number 24 -- Bryant's old shirt number -- with his fingers.
Dia triste pra nós dos esporte, pra nós fãs e principalmente pra família e amigos de kobe. Com suas mãos se fez lenda, obrigado por exaltar o esporte Kobe... que Deus conforte o coração de sua família e amigos ???????????? #ripkobebryant #24 pic.twitter.com/QPjIy7Fhou— Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) January 26, 2020
Former American basketball player, Bill Russell was shocked to hear about the loss of one of his favorite person. He tweeted a photo with Kobe Bryant.
Jeannine & I are absolutely shocked to hear of the loss of one of my favorite people & one of the best basketball minds in the history of the game! Our hearts & prayers to Vanessa & his girls. @kobebryant you were my biggest fan, but I was yours #RIPMAMBA@NBA@espn@SLAMonlinepic.twitter.com/Ll0BD6VWgr— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) January 26, 2020
At the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, several hundred shocked fans gathered to pay tribute as the venue which witnessed many of Bryant's career highlights hosted the music industry's Grammy Awards.