CALABASAS, California, Jan. 26, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — NBA superstar Kobe Bryant has been killed in a California helicopter crash.
News of the deadly crash is being reported by the Hollywood entertainment website TMZ, and has been confirmed by a Calabasas City official.
TMZ is also reporting Bryant’s daughter Gianna Maria Onore, known as GiGi, 13, also died in the crash.
Early reports indicated they were on their way to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball practice when the crash occurred, and two of the other passengers may have been another student and a parent.
According to TMZ, Bryant, 41, was traveling with eight other people in his private helicopter when the aircraft went down. His wife, Vanessa Bryant was not among those killed, TMZ said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed that a helicopter crashed in Calabasas about 10:01 a.m. Sunday.
The names of the other seven victims have yet to be released by law enforcement.
LA County Sheriff’s Office tweeted at noon: “Reports of downed aircraft on hillside at Las Virgenes Rd and Willow Glen St #Calabasas. Malibu deputies on scene.”
A follow-up tweet said: “Downed aircraft is a helicopter. Flames extinguished. Malibu deputies at crash site looking for survivors.”
A third tweet added: “Five people confirmed deceased, no survivors in #Calabasas helicopter crash. Malibu deputies remain with LA County Fire personnel. Investigation ongoing. Avoid the area until further notice.”
Bryant is known to use a helicopter for travel, dating back to when he played for the Lakers, TMZ said. He was known for commuting in his Sikorsky S-76 chopper; it has been confirmed it was a Sikorsky S-76 with the registration N72EX that went down in the crash.
Bryant, 41, is survived by his wife Vanessa; and three daughters, Natalia, Bianca and their newborn Capri.
Bryant is widely considered one of the greatest NBA players of all time, making 18 All-Star teams during his 20-year career with the Lakers.
His last tweet was at 8:39 p.m. Saturday, and said: “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother #33644.” The @KingJames account belongs to LeBron James.
“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.
Gephardt Daily is following this developing story and will provide an update as more information becomes available.