Retired NBA star Kobe Bryant, 41, was killed in a helicopter crash near Calabasas in southern California on Sunday. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also among the nine victims of the crash, according to reports.
The helicopter went down about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Authorities are investigating the cause of the crash, though it has been reported that the weather conditions were foggy. Kobe and the group were travelling to his youth basketball academy for a game in which his daughter was going to play.
Deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department responded to the scene near Las Virgenes Road and Willow Glen Street at around 10 am, the department tweeted. Flames that erupted in the crash have been extinguished. An investigation is underway.
Kobe Bryant was a basketball star whose career in the National Basketball Association (NBA), a men's professional basketball league in North America, spanned 20 years, five NBA championships for the Los Angeles Lakers and numerous records. He has frequently been called one of the greatest players of all time following his retirement from the sport in 2016. Just on Saturday night, Lakers star’ Lebron James surpassed Kobe on the NBA career scoring list.
His death has caused at outpouring of grief from around the world.
In 2003, Kobe was arrested after he was accused of rape by a 19-year-old woman. The case was eventually dropped and a civil suit was settled outside court. Kobe publicly said he believed the encounter to be consensual but apologised and said, “I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”
Kobe is survived by his wife Vanessa, with whom he has three other daughters, along with Gianna.
With IANS inputs