Kobe Bryant, five-time NBA champion and one of the greatest basketball players, died in a helicopter crash on Sunday. Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among the nine people killed when their helicopter slammed into a hillside in Calabasas, California.
The shock announcement led to an outpouring of grief on social media. #RIPMamba - after the two-time Olympic gold medallist's famous nickname Black Mamba - and #KobeBryant were the top two trends on Twitter.
The #RIPMamba hashtag has inspired over five lakh tweets from fans.
Former American tennis player Andy Roddick shared a video of Kobe Bryant with his daughter Gianna that is being widely circulated online and wrote: "Rest In Peace Kobe. Rest In Peace Gigi #RIPMamba."
This. I've started and deleted tweets all day. I've admired Kobe from afar for so long. Nobody is invincible in this life. Love harder. Be better. Never punt on a day. Kobe didn't. Rest In Peace Kobe. Rest In Peace Gigi #RIPMambahttps://t.co/8VL1ogUfc8— andyroddick (@andyroddick) January 27, 2020
The Indian football team also tweeted a condolence message.
Sports apparel giant Nike, with whom Kobe Bryant had a long association, also paid tributes.
Mamba Forever. pic.twitter.com/wIchSUwFM2— Nike (@Nike) January 26, 2020
Thousands of fans of the basketball legend took to Twitter to share throwback videos and quotes using #RIPMamba.
Found this photo while I was reading an obituary for Kobe and it hit me hard. This is a look I know from my 3 kids when I'm looking in their eyes. It's love. He was a hero to his girls. Kobe did amazing things on the court but being a loving Dad was his real greatness. #RIPMambapic.twitter.com/mkjl8l411H— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) January 27, 2020
one guy synonymous with basketball for many indian kids , the one who often surfaced as our screen savers , a great sportsman, a fighter all through ...inspiration behind those countless layups in the backyard and shadow dunks. #absolutelegend#RIPMambapic.twitter.com/CdDhSvqKrB— Harman Maan (@maan_harman_) January 27, 2020
Kobe Bryant's helicopter crashed shortly before 10 am local time on Sunday. Photos of the crash site show that it hit an undeveloped hillside. Firefighters arrived at the scene to find that it had ignited a bushfire.
Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli and assistant coach for an Orange County private elementary school basketball team, Christina Mauser, were also killed in the crash