Sports stars pay tribute as NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter killed in helicopter crash

Sports stars pay tribute as NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter killed in helicopter crash

Fellow sports stars and fans have paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria Onore who have been killed in a helicopter crash in California this morning.

Alex Villanueva of the Los Angeles County Department confirmed that a total of nine people were on board the helicopter when it crashed.

"We have a manifest that indicates that there was nine people on board the aircraft, the pilot plus eight individuals."

It was earlier confirmed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department that five people were confirmed dead after the private helicopter went down on a hillside in Calabasas, California.

"Five people confirmed deceased, no survivors in #Calabasas helicopter crash. #LASD #Malibu deputies remain with #LA County Fire personnel. Investigation ongoing.

Avoid the area until further notice," it posted in a tweet.

The Lakers legend was on board a Sikorsky S-76, according to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The S-76 is used for VIP and emergency flights, and is described by manufacturers Lockheed Martin as a “smooth” and “reliable” model.

Its website says: “Since 1977, more than 875 S-76 aircraft have been delivered world-wide.

“The offshore mission accounts for 65% of the total flight hours accumulated fleet-wide to date. More than 10% of the fleet’s flight hours have been flown in the critical life-saving missions of search and rescue and helicopter air ambulance transportation.

“The S-76 is well-known for its work in VIP transportation and utility work. Today, it continues dependable service for all of these mission segments.

“More than 178 customers operate S-76 helicopters in a corporate or VIP role. Ten countries rely on the S-76 for the head of state mission.”

LA Lakers’ Kobe Bryant during the NBA Europe Live match at the O2 Arena (PA)
LA Lakers’ Kobe Bryant during the NBA Europe Live match at the O2 Arena (PA)

Bryant, who also won two Olympic gold medals, played for the Los Angeles Lakers throughout his 20-year NBA career before retiring in 2016.

Having announced his plans to retire in 2015, NBA commissioner Adam Silver called Bryant “one of the greatest players in the history of our game”.

He was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008, was Finals MVP on two occasions and was an 18-time All-Star.

Both Kobe Bryant and his daughter were expected at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball game scheduled for noon today, according to CNN.

Gianna was expected to play in the game and Kobe Bryant was expected to coach, according to Lady Mavericks team director Evelyn Morales.

Fellow sports stars across the globe have remembered Bryant and paid tribute to his sporting achievements and 20-year career with the Lakers.

US president Donald Trump said in a tweet that the passing of Kobe Bryant was "terrible news".

Former president Barack Obama paid tribute to Bryant and his daughter Gianna.

"Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act.

"To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day," he posted.

Fans of the five-time NBA champion took to Twitter to offer their condolences following the news.

- with additional reporting from PA

More on this topic

Dispute body set to adjudicate on Super League controversyDispute body set to adjudicate on Super League controversy

Tralee Warriors points deduction controversy rumbles on amid counter-appeal Tralee Warriors points deduction controversy rumbles on amid counter-appeal

Superleague leaders Tralee Warriors win appeal against points deductionSuperleague leaders Tralee Warriors win appeal against points deduction

Neptune coach Lehmon Colbert: We need to wear hearts on our sleevesNeptune coach Lehmon Colbert: We need to wear hearts on our sleeves

More in this Section

Pogba desperate to play for Man United again despite links with move – SolskjaerPogba desperate to play for Man United again despite links with move – Solskjaer

Lampard refuses to accept Chelsea can end Man United’s Champions League hopesLampard refuses to accept Chelsea can end Man United’s Champions League hopes

BBC severs ties with pundit after ‘black lads’ commentsBBC severs ties with pundit after ‘black lads’ comments

Football rumours: Real Madrid keen on Raheem SterlingFootball rumours: Real Madrid keen on Raheem Sterling


Lifestyle

When Marisa Murphy went to play as a teenager on Dinish Island, she could still see the flowers growing among the ruins in her grandmother’Islands of Ireland: Barely inhabitated Dinish became an industrial zone

MAC make-up artist Lucy Bridge shares her tips backstage at Roland Mouret.How to create the perfect matte red lip, according to a backstage beauty expert

New trends include chunky heeled boots, silver belts and lots of plaid from the British designer.Victoria Beckham got ‘rebellious’ for her new collection – as David and family watched on

When horses were shown photographs of angry human faces, their hearts speeded up.Jackass penguin talk is similar to humans

More From The Irish Examiner