SWITZERLAND, JANUARY 27 – Tributes have been pouring in after the shocking death of one of the greatest sport stars, Kobe Bryant.
US basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna are among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in the city of Calabasas, California.
Bryant, 41, and Gianna, 13, were travelling in a private helicopter when it came down and burst into flames.
In a statement on Sunday afternoon, the City of Calabasas said it heard the news “with great sadness”.
“The aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 this morning. Nobody on the ground was hurt,” it added.
The LA county sheriff said there were no survivors from the aircraft.
Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, played for the LA Lakers throughout his career and is considered one of the greatest players in the game’s history.
Tributes from celebrities and fellow sports stars have been pouring in, many expressing shock at his sudden death.
Moments of silence have been observed at basketball games across the US.
Bryant has also been remembered at the Grammy Awards which held at the Los Angeles Lakers’ stadium. The 2020 Grammys ceremony opened with a heartfelt tribute to basketball player Kobe Bryant, who died on Sunday.
“Tonight is for you Kobe,” declared pop star Lizzo, opening the show with her stirring ballad Cuz I Love You.
Host Alicia Keys then dedicated the show to Bryant’s memory, with an a-capella version of It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye, accompanied by Boyz II Men.
The show is taking place at the Staples Center, where Bryant played his entire career with the LA Lakers.
“We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now,” said Grammys host Alicia Keys.
“Because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero. We’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”
“I genuinely thought it wasn’t real,” said pop star Billie Eilish. “I was in the green room… and I was like, ‘Oh that has to be fake'”.
The star, who grew up in Los Angeles, added: “Everybody knew Kobe. Everybody. It’s genuinely unbelievable.
“I feel like anything I say is not enough for what’s going on.”
Later in the show, Run-DMC held up one of Bryant’s number 24 vests – which the Lakers have said they will retire following his death.
Politicians are also paying tribute to the sports legend.
United States president, Donald Trump who is currently in the middle of an impeachment trial wrote:
” 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!”
“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,” Former US president, Barack Obama tweeted.
Born in Philadelphia, Bryant quickly grew to become one of basketball’s greatest champions. He played his entire professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers and won five NBA championships, before retiring in April 2016 after scoring 60 points inhis final game.Former Lakers Coach Phil Jackson called the player a “chosen one — special in many ways to many people.””Our relationship as coach/player transcended the norm. He went beyond the veil,” Jackson said.Bryant leaves behind his wife, Vanessa, and three daughters — the youngest of which was born in June.
See more tributes to the legend below: