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Kobe Bryant dies in a helicopter crash, others dead

CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 09: Kobe Bryant attends the 2019 Baby2Baby Gala Presented by Paul Mitchell at 3LABS on November 09, 2019 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic)

Basketball legend and former Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Sunday in Calabasas, Calif., as first reported by TMZ.

The news was confirmed by ABC 7 in Los Angeles and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Bryant, 41, was traveling with eight other people, including the pilot, in his private helicopter when it went down, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

The website reported Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife, was not on board, but his 13-year-old daighter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, was.

Bryant was on his way to a travel basketball game with his daughter Gigi. Another parent and player were also on board.

CNN reported that Orange County College baseball coach John Altobelli, his daughter Alyssa Altobelli and wife Keri Altobelli were also aboard the helicopter.

National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy said at a news conference that investigators will look at the pilot’s history, the maintenance records and information on the helicopter’s owner and operator. Homendy said investigators were not sure how many people the aircraft was configured to carry.

The helicopter that crashed was a twin-engine Sikorsky S-76.

Bryant has been known to travel in a helicopter for years, going back to his playing days. He is a five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star selection.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement following the news of Bryant’s passing.

Bryant is the Lakers franchise leader in points (33,643), games played (1,346), 3-pointers (1,827), steals (1,944) and free throws (8,378).

On Saturday, Bryant was passed on the all-time NBA points list in the NBA by LeBron James, who moved up to No. 3.

He is the only player in Laker history to have two numbers retired, No. 8 and No. 24.

Bryant teamed with Shaquille O’Neal to win three consecutive NBA titles from 2000-02, and he worked with Pau Gasol to win two more in 2009 and 2010. The Lakers struggled late in his career while Bryant ended three consecutive seasons early with injuries, and the franchise delayed its rebuilding in favor of showcasing Bryant to his adoring worldwide fans.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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