Basketball legend Kobe Bryant died Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, sources confirm to CNN.
Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria Onore Bryant was also killed, a source with knowledge of the situation tells CNN.
Bryant, 41, and his daughter were expected at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball game scheduled for noon Sunday. Gianna was expected to play in the game and Bryant was expected to coach, according to Lady Mavericks team director Evelyn Morales.
According to a manifest, nine people — including the pilot — were on board the helicopter that crashed on a hillside, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters. No one survived the crash, Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby said. Officials did not identify the victims.
Earlier, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said five people were killed in the crash.
The sheriff’s department said it received reports of the downed aircraft around 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m PT), officials said in a tweet.
LA County Fire Department Capt. Tony Imbrenda said he didn’t immediately have any information about whether the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter radioed a distress signal.
“Individuals that saw the aircraft said it was coming down at a fairly significant rate of speed and impacted the ground on the hillside,” he told reporters.
Imbrenda said he didn’t know where the helicopter came from or where it was headed.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Tranportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, the FAA said in a tweet.
Pictures taken shortly after the crash showed fog in the area. Sunday morning’s weather also included light wind and temperatures in the mid-50s.
A heralded career
Bryant’s death comes a day after LeBron James passed him as No. 3 on the NBA all-time scoring list when he scored 33,643 points.
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother,” Bryant tweeted Saturday night.
Born in Philadelphia, Bryant started playing basektball when he was 3 and went on to become one of the NBA’s greatest champions. He was drafted to the NBA straight out of Lower Merion High School near Philadelphia in 1996. He was the youngest player in NBA history at that time, at 18 years, 2 months and 11 days.
Bryant played his entire professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers and won five NBA championships.
Bryant has two Olympic gold medals for men’s basketball.
Bryant retired in April 2016. He said “his body knew it was time to say goodbye.”
“In many ways he was the Los Angeles Lakers. When you think of Kobe Bryant, it’s sports, but it’s more than sports. He was part of our culture, Olympic teams, Hollywood, the father of four daughters,” CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan said. Bryant was seen at women’s sporting events including the US women’s soccer team and WNBA games with his daughters. She said he was “all about the empowerment of young women.”
She said Bryant “become a cultural icon and not just about sports, but about our culture and a huge piece of Americana and that’s why this news is absolutely tragic.”
source: cnn.com By Artemis Moshtaghian, Chloe Melas and Darran Simon