NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, 13-yr-old daughter die in helicopter crash

The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, Los Angeles, and burst into flames.

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Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles on Sunday. The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter in which they travelled crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, west of Los Angeles, and burst into flames. There were seven other passengers on the chopper besides Bryant and his daughter Gianna Maria Onore. Nobody survived.

Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist, is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players in history, an iconic figure who became one of the faces of his sport during a glittering two-decade career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

5-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant Wikimedia Commons/Keith Allison

Federal agencies will hold an inquiry into the cause of the chopper crash that killed Kobe, who is a five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist. Bryant won NBA championships for the Lakers five times—in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010.

Immediately after the crash, firefighters and paramedics rushed to the rough terrain where the helicopter had crash-landed. "The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. ... We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

'Laker Nation will never be the same'

The NBA community, the sporting fraternity and the wider world were shocked as the tragic news spread on Sunday afternoon. Tributes were paid to Kobe at the NBA games scheduled for Sunday. "Laker Nation, the game of basketball & our city, will never be the same without Kobe," former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson said.

Bryant had an illustrious career from 1996, when he started playing professional game straight out of high school, and his 2016 retirement. He is the son of former NBA player Joe "Jellybean" Bryant. Kobe and wife Vanessa have four children.

(The story to be updated)