They were reportedly on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks where Bryant was expected to coach the 13-year-old Gianna and her team.
The world was left stunned on Sunday as news outlets reported the death of retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. The helicopter they were traveling in crashed near Calabasas, California. Bryant and his daughter were reportedly on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks where Bryant was expected to coach the 13-year-old Gianna and her team. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva revealed during a news conference that nine people, including the pilot, died in the crash. It could take several days to recover bodies from the crash site, said Daryl Osby, the Los Angeles County fire chief, as the helicopter crashed in rough terrain that's difficult to access, reports The New York Times.
According to CNN, Osby also informed reporters that the helicopter crash, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, caused a brush fire. LA County Fire Department Capt. Tony Imbrenda said he couldn't confirm whether the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter radioed a distress signal before the crash.
Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban issued the following statement on the passing of Kobe and Gianna Bryant. pic.twitter.com/Ua41YrvTMZ— Mavs PR (@MavsPR) January 27, 2020
We are devastated by the tragic news that Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna have died in a helicopter accident.— MLB (@MLB) January 26, 2020
Our thoughts are with the Bryant family and all those affected today. pic.twitter.com/MO5NuR1F5o
Today we mourn the loss of our friend Kobe Bryant. Sending our thoughts and prayers to the Bryant family. ♥️ pic.twitter.com/fwT4yj7Ud7— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) January 26, 2020
"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 said. Meanwhile, CNN Meteorologist Michael Guy stated that it was cloudy and foggy with a slight drizzle in the area making visibility extremely low.
Lights for a legend.— Mayor Eric Garcetti (@MayorOfLA) January 27, 2020
Los Angeles City Hall lit in purple and gold starting at 8:24 p.m. this evening in honor of Kobe Bryant’s storied championship career and in memory of Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and all who perished in today’s tragedy. pic.twitter.com/1una7Aj98Z
Tonight, LAX’s pylons will be lit in purple and gold in memory of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and all those who were with them in today’s unthinkable accident. Kobe was in many ways a symbol of Los Angeles and we join his family, fans and city in mourning all who were lost today. pic.twitter.com/HGX5AaSDBG— LAX Airport (@flyLAXairport) January 27, 2020
Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and three daughters of which his youngest daughter is only 7-months-old. The NBA legend's oldest daughter Natalia Diamante Bryant turned 17 a week ago. His death comes just a day after LeBron James passed him as No. 3 on the NBA all-time scoring list with 33,643 points. In his last Instagram post, Bryant shared a photo of himself with James with the caption, On to #2 @kingjames! Keep growing the game and charting the path for the next.
Born in Philadelphia, Bryant's love for basketball began when he was just 3. He was drafted straight out of Lower Merion High School near Philadelphia in 1996 and became the youngest player in NBA history at the time at just 18 years, 2 months, and 11 days of age. Playing his entire professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant won 5 NBA championships and has two Olympic gold medals for men's basketball. He retired in April 2016 as one of the NBA's greatest champions, scoring 60 points in his final game.
"Probably the hardest game I ever had to play. ... Honestly, knowing him the way that I know him, he would have wanted me to play."— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 27, 2020
Melo was emotional when speaking of Kobe Bryant's death
"Just knowing him personally, I know he'd want me to come out here and try to ball"— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 27, 2020
Kawhi on Kobe Bryant after the game. pic.twitter.com/3trPWyEVMP
Earlier this month, a sweet moment between Bryant and Gianna went viral on social media after the pair appeared to be engrossed in a serious discussion about basketball at a game. During an appearance on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2018, the basketball legend gushed about his daughter's love for the sport, saying, "The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans would come up to me and she'll be standing next to me and they'll be like, 'You've gotta have a boy, you and V gotta have a boy. You gotta have somebody to carry on your tradition, the legacy.' She's like, 'Oy, I got this. Don't need no boy for that.' I'm like, that's right. Yes, you do, you got this."
Fans and celebrities alike took to social media to mourn Bryant's death. Former President Barack Obama 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."
As I try to write this post, my mind is racing. I’m in disbelief and have been crying all morning over this devastating news that Kobe and his young daughter, Gigi have passed away in a helicopter crash. Cookie and I are heartbroken. pic.twitter.com/X2vF0M0a1u— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 26, 2020
He gave his knowledge, time, and talent to tutor so many at the youth level, collegiate level, & NBA & WNBA players. Words can’t express the impact that he had on the game of basketball. I know basketball fans all over the world will miss him, especially the City of Los Angeles. pic.twitter.com/ZoB3Uwbvzk— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 26, 2020
Laker Nation, the game of basketball & our city, will never be the same without Kobe. Cookie & I are praying for Vanessa, his beautiful daughters Natalia, Bianka & Capri, as well as his parents Joe & Pam & his sisters. We will always be here for the Bryant family. pic.twitter.com/WWxmtEAJqZ— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 26, 2020
President Donald Trump also shared his condolences on Twitter, writing, "Kobe Bryant, despite being one of the truly great basketball players of all time, was just getting started in life. He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future. The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating. Melania and I send our warmest condolences to Vanessa and the wonderful Bryant family. May God be with you all!"
Doc Rivers remembers Kobe Bryant. pic.twitter.com/q6LcIA4ghT— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 26, 2020
Most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of basketball players. But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete. pic.twitter.com/9EZuwk8wrV— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) January 26, 2020
There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW pic.twitter.com/pigHywq3c1— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020