BREAKING: Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash
As first reported by TMZ, the 41-year-old basketball legend has died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. According to several sources, Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna also died in the crash.
Bryant, 41, and his daughter were on a flight over the Los Angeles county suburb of Calabasas when the helicopter reportedly crashed. The LA County Sheriffâs office confirmed in aÂ tweetÂ that five people were on board the flight when it crashed and there were no survivors.Â ESPNâs Adrian Wojnarowski confirmedÂ BryantÂ and his daughterÂ were on board. Reports indicate the helicopter was taking Bryant and the others to his daughterâs basketball game
The other two passengers were another player and parent,Â according to Wojnarowski.
The Los Angeles TimesÂ reportedÂ the crash happened in the hills over Calabasas shortly after 10 a.m. local time, and that no homes or other bystanders were affected by the crash.
Bryantâs death stunned Los Angeles and the sports world, which mourned one of basketballâs greatest players. Sources said the helicopter took off from Orange County, where Bryant lived.
The crash occurred shortly before 10 a.m. near Las Virgenes Road, south of Agoura Road, according to a watch commander for the Los Angeles County Sheriffâs Department. Four others on board also died.
Jerry Kocharian was standing outside the Church in the Canyon drinking coffee when he heard a helicopter unusually low struggling overhead. âIt [didnât] sound right and it was real low. I saw it falling and spluttering. But it was hard to make out as It was so foggy,â Kocharian said. The helicopter vanished into a cloud of fog and then there was a boom.
âThere was a big fireball,â he said. âNo one could survive that.â
The helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76B built in 1991, departed John Wayne Airport at 9:06 a.m. Sunday, according to publicly available flight records. The helicopter passed over Boyle Heights, near Dodger Stadium, circled over Glendale during the flight.
The National Transportation Safety Board database does not show any prior incidents or accidents for this aircraft. The helicopter is registered to the Fillmore-based Island Express Holding Corp., according to the California Secretary of State business database.
âWe extend our sincerest condolences to all those affected by todayâs Sikorsky S-76B accident in Calabasas, California,â the helicopterâs manufacturer, Sikorsky, said in a tweet. âWe have been in contact with the NTSB and stand ready to provide assistance and support to the investigative authorities and our customer.â
âKobe Bryant was a giant who inspired, amazed, and thrilled people everywhere with his incomparable skill on the court â and awed us with his intellect and humility as a father, husband, creative genius, and ambassador for the game he loved,â L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a news statement Sunday afternoon. âHe will live forever in the heart of Los Angeles, and will be remembered through the ages as one of our greatest heroes.â
Across Southern California, public figures and fans alike mourned the basketball starâs Sunday.