Written by Reuters
27 Jan, 2020 | 8:05 am
REUTERS – Former NBA star Kobe Bryant and his daughter were among nine killed in a California helicopter crash.
Kobe Bryant, one of the NBA’s all-time greats whose international stardom transcended basketball, was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others on board, officials said. He was 41.
“There were no survivors. We have a manifest that indicates there were nine people on board the aircraft, the pilot plus eight individuals,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news conference, declining to identify any victims.
Bryant rocketed to fame as an 18-year-old rookie and played 20 years for the Los Angeles Lakers, 18 of them as an all-star, and winning five NBA championships. His death sent shockwaves through the National Basketball Association, which he helped propel to international prominence, and around the world.
The chopper went down around 10 a.m. (1800 GMT) in hilly terrain in Calabasas, California, about 40 miles (65 km) northwest of central Los Angeles, sparking a brush fire, officials said.
Asked by reporters if he believed there were nine bodies at the crash site, after earlier reports indicated only five dead, Villanueva said: “That is our belief, yes.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver confirmed Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among those killed, and sent condolences to Bryant’s wife, Vanessa.
A teammate from Bryant’s daughter’s basketball team, a parent of the teammate, and the pilot were also killed, NBC News reported.
Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli was also killed, the Orange County Register reported, citing assistant coach Ron La Ruffa.
“We’re going to wait until the coroner does their job and we’re assisting the families of those who believe that been impacted, it’s a tough process. And our hope goes out to all of the members that were on board, all the family of everyone that was on board this aircraft and God bless their soul,” said Sheriff Villanueva.
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