Retired basketball star Kobe Bryant and four other people died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning, the city of Calabasas reported.
LA county firefighters on the scene of a helicopter crash that reportedly killed Kobe Bryant in Calabasas, California. Reuters
"It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Kobe Bryant and four others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. The aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 this morning. Nobody on the ground was hurt," the city of Calabas said on Twitter.
It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Kobe Bryant and four others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. The aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 this morning. Nobody on the ground was hurt. The FAA and NTSB are investigating.— City of Calabasas (@CityofCalabasas) January 26, 2020
The Los Angeles County Sheriff said on Twitter that five people died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, about 65 km northwest of Los Angeles, and that there were no survivors. It did not identify the victims.
First responders put out the flames of the crash site, the sheriff's department said, posting a picture of a fire truck and smoke emerging from the brush in a ravine.
Bryant, 41, was known to use a helicopter for travel dating to his days as a star player for the Los Angeles Lakers, when he commuted to games in a Sikorsky S-76 chopper, the celebrity news website TMZ said.
The US Federal Aviation Administration identified the crashed helicopter as a Sikorsky S-76, saying in a statement that the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board would investigate.
Bryant - One of basketball's greatests
A transcendent star who went straight from high school to the game's biggest stage, Bryant won five NBA championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers and was the face of the franchise during his 20-year career.
Bryant, a small forward and shooting guard, averaged 25 points during his career and twice led the NBA in scoring.
He was an 18-times NBA All-Star who wore the jersey numbers 24 and 8 - both of which were retired by the Lakers - and continued the 'Showtime' tradition of the storied franchise that has been home to the likes of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal.
The fourth-highest scorer in NBA history with 33,643 points, Bryant only gave up the third spot on the list on Saturday night to LeBron James.
On Saturday, Bryant used Twitter to extend his congratulations to James: "Much respect my brother," he tweeted.
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother ???? #33644— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020
A few hours later, Bryant perished in the crash.
Born in Philadelphia, Bryant was only 17 when he was taken as the 13th overall draft pick by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1996 NBA draft.
But he never played for the Hornets and immediately traded to the Lakers, where he played his entire career before retiring in 2016.
In 2008, he was named the NBA Most Valuable Player.
Internationally, he won two Olympic gold medals, part of the United States team in 2008 and 2012.
Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, have four daughters: Gianna, Natalia, Bianca and Capri, who was born in June 2019.
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