UPDATE 3: 2:40 PM PT — Officials say they believe 9 people were on board — 1 pilot and 8 passengers — and there were no survivors. Still unclear why the chopper crashed but an investigation is under way.
UPDATE 2: 12:49 PM PT — President Trump just tweeted about Kobe’s death … saying, “Reports are that basketball great Kobe Bryant and three others have been killed in a helicopter crash in California. That is terrible news!”
Reports are that basketball great Kobe Bryant and three others have been killed in a helicopter crash in California. That is terrible news!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2020
UPDATE: 12:35 PM PT — Kobe’s daughter Gianna Maria Onore — aka GiGi — was also on board the helicopter and died in the crash … reps for Kobe tell TMZ Sports. She was 13.
We’re told they were on their way to the Mamba Academy for a basketball practice when the crash occurred. The Academy is in nearby Thousand Oaks.
Original story appears below:
Kobe Bryant died in a helicoper crash in Calabasas Sunday morning … TMZ Sports has confirmed.
Kobe was traveling with at least 3 other people in his private helicopter when it went down. A fire broke out. Emergency personnel responded, but nobody on board survived. 5 people are confirmed dead. We’re told Vanessa Bryant was not among those on board.
Eyewitnesses also tell us that they heard the helicopter’s engine sputtering before it went down. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Kobe has famously used a helicopter to travel for years — dating back to when he played for the Lakers. He was known for commuting from Newport Beach, CA to the STAPLES Center in DTLA in his Sikorsky S-76 chopper.
KB is survived by his wife Vanessa, and their four daughters — Gianna, Natalia and Bianca and their newborn Capri.
Kobe has recently been spotted out at NBA games with his daughter Gianna — a rising star basketball player herself. Their youngest daughter, Capri, was just born in June 2019.
Kobe 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. He was a first-round pick in the 1996 draft, winning 5 NBA championships, 2 NBA Finals MVPs and he was the league MVP in ’08.
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