Kobe Bryant, who won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and was considered one of basketball’s all-time greats, was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles along with all four others on board, officials said. He was 41.
Among the dead was Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, U.S. media reported.
The chopper went down in a remote field around 10 a.m. (1.00 p.m. ET) about 40 miles (65 km) northwest of central Los Angeles, the city of Calabasas said on Twitter.
There were no survivors.
Several major U.S. media outlets reported that his daughter Gianna was on board. A teammate from Bryant’s daughter’s basketball team, a parent of the teammate, and the pilot were also killed, NBC News reported.
“This is a moment that leaves us struggling to find words that express the magnitude of shock and sorrow we are all feeling right now, and I am keeping Kobe’s entire family in my prayers at this time of unimaginable grief,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement.
Bryant’s death sent shockwaves through the NBA.
In San Antonio, the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs paid their respects by allowing the 24-second clock to expire on each of their first possessions. Bryant wore No. 24 for much of his career.
“There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through with this tragedy of losing my niece Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed,” tweeted Bryant’s former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal. “My condolences go out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW.”
“Most people will remember Kobe as a 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,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the all-time NBA scoring leader, said on Twitter.
Stunned fans gathered outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles around a wreath with a message: “Kobe we love you RIP.” Some in the crowd dabbed tears as others laid flowers and basketball sneakers at the wreath.
First responders put out the flames at the crash site, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department said, posting a picture of a fire truck and smoke emerging from the brush in a ravine.
Bryant had been known to use a helicopter for travel since his days as a player for the Lakers, when he commuted to games in a Sikorsky S-76 chopper, the celebrity news website TMZ said.
The Federal Aviation Administration identified the crashed helicopter as a Sikorsky S-76, saying in a statement that the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board would investigate.