Basketball legend Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash...

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Basketball legend Bryant, his daughter die in helicopter crash

 Sports Desk

 Published: 10:31 AM, 27 January 2020   Updated: 12:07 PM, 27 January 2020

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna

Kobe Bryant, one of the most illustrious players in the history of basketball, and his daughter Gianna are among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in California, US.

The 41-year-old US basketball legend was travelling with eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, in a private helicopter when it came down and burst into flames in the city of Calabasas, 30 miles west of Los Angeles. 

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the helicopter manifest indicated that nine people were on board when it crashed, raising the number from five in earlier statements by officials. The LA county sheriff said there were no survivors.   

Pictures from the scene of the accident, shared by the LA County Sheriff's Department, showing a fire truck and smoke emerging from the hills.

The National Transportation Safety Board identified the crashed helicopter as a Sikorsky S-76B and said it was sending a team to investigate the crash. 

Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, played for the LA Lakers throughout his career and is considered one of the greatest players in the game's history.

Tributes from celebrities and fellow sports stars have been pouring in, many expressing shock at his sudden death. Moments of silence have been observed at basketball games across the US.

Bryant played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He retired in April 2016. His achievements include being the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also NBA scoring champion twice and a two-time Olympic champion.

He famously scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006, the second-highest single-game total in NBA history. He also won an Oscar for best short animated film in 2018 for Dear Basketball, a five-minute film based on a love letter to the sport he had written in 2015. 

Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, have three other daughters, Natalia, Bianca and Capri.