NBA great Kobe Bryant and 13-year-old daughter die in helicopter crash

Basketball great Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash at the age of 41.

The five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist died alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna in the incident in California on Sunday morning.

Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva said nine people, including the pilot, had died in the crash but was awaiting the coroner's report before confirming any identities as it would be "inappropriate" to do so.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement: "The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.

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CALABASAS, CA - JANUARY 26: Investigators work at the scene of a helicopter crash that killed former NBA star Kobe Bryant on January 26, 2020 in Calabasas, California. Nine people have been confirmed dead in the crash, among them Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
CALABASAS, CA - JANUARY 26: In this handout photo provided by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, emergency crews respond to a helicopter crash that reportedly killed former NBA player Kobe Bryant on January 26, 2020 in Calabasas, California. Five people have been confirmed dead in the crash in the Calabasas hills, among them former NBA star of the Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant. (Photo by LASD via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: A man mourns the death of retired NBA star Kobe Bryant outside the Staples Center prior to the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Bryant, 41, died today in a helicopter crash in near Calabasas, California. (Photo by Rachel Luna/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: (L-R) Los Angeles Lakers fans Lilian Gamez, Gabriel Gamez and Angelica Rodriguez mourn the death of retired NBA star Kobe Bryant outside the Staples Center prior to the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Bryant, 41, died today in a helicopter crash in near Calabasas, California. (Photo by Rachel Luna/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - JANUARY 26: Assistant coach Sam Cassell and Tyronn Lue of the LA Clippers react on the bench after honoring former NBA player Kobe Bryant who died in a helicopter crash during the first half against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center on January 26, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: A general view of atmosphere during Steven Tyler's Third Annual GRAMMY Awards Viewing Party to benefit Janie’s Fund presented by Live Nation at Raleigh Studios on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Janie's Fund)
Candles decorate a makeshift memorial in front of a Kobe Bryant mural in downtown Los Angeles on January 26, 2020. - Nine people were killed in the helicopter crash which claimed the life of NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter, Los Angeles officials confirmed on Sunday. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said eight passengers and the pilot of the aircraft died in the accident. The helicopter crashed in foggy weather in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas. Authorities said firefighters received a call shortly at 9:47 am about the crash, which caused a brush fire on a hillside. (Photo by Apu GOMES / AFP) (Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)
Luis Villanueva lights a candle in front of a Kobe Bryant mural in downtown Los Angeles on January 26, 2020. - Nine people were killed in the helicopter crash which claimed the life of NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter, Los Angeles officials confirmed on Sunday. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said eight passengers and the pilot of the aircraft died in the accident. The helicopter crashed in foggy weather in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas. Authorities said firefighters received a call shortly at 9:47 am about the crash, which caused a brush fire on a hillside. (Photo by Apu GOMES / AFP) (Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Distraught Los Angeles Lakers fan Naima Smith (wearing glasses) crying at a vigil for the late NBA star Kobe Bryant on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Fans are seen at a memorial next to a mural of Kobe Bryant on Melrose Avenue on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Bryant, was a five-time NBA champion and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was 41. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)
People gather around a makeshift memorial for former NBA and Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant after learning of his death, at LA Live plaza in front of Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 26, 2020. - Nine people were killed in the helicopter crash which claimed the life of NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter, Los Angeles officials confirmed on Sunday. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said eight passengers and the pilot of the aircraft died in the accident. The helicopter crashed in foggy weather in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas. Authorities said firefighters received a call shortly at 9:47 am about the crash, which caused a brush fire on a hillside. (Photo by Apu GOMES / AFP) (Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)
NEWBURY PARK, CA - JANUARY 26: People mourn at a makeshift memorial at Mamba Sports Academy for former NBA great Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash while commuting to the academy on January 26, 2020 in Newbury Park, California. Nine people have been confirmed dead in the crash in Calabasas, among them Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
People gather around a makeshift memorial for former NBA and Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant after learning of his death, at LA Live plaza in front of Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 26, 2020. - Nine people were killed in the helicopter crash which claimed the life of NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter, Los Angeles officials confirmed on Sunday. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said eight passengers and the pilot of the aircraft died in the accident. The helicopter crashed in foggy weather in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas. Authorities said firefighters received a call shortly at 9:47 am about the crash, which caused a brush fire on a hillside. (Photo by Apu GOMES / AFP) (Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)
People gather around a makeshift memorial for former NBA and Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant after learning of his death, at LA Live plaza in front of Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 26, 2020. - Nine people were killed in the helicopter crash which claimed the life of NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter, Los Angeles officials confirmed on Sunday. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said eight passengers and the pilot of the aircraft died in the accident. The helicopter crashed in foggy weather in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas. Authorities said firefighters received a call shortly at 9:47 am about the crash, which caused a brush fire on a hillside. (Photo by Apu GOMES / AFP) (Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)
NEWBURY PARK, CA - JANUARY 26: People mourn at a makeshift memorial at Mamba Sports Academy for former NBA great Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash while commuting to the academy on January 26, 2020 in Newbury Park, California. Nine people have been confirmed dead in the crash in Calabasas, among them Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
NEWBURY PARK, CA - JANUARY 26: People mourn at a makeshift memorial at Mamba Sports Academy for former NBA great Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash while commuting to the academy on January 26, 2020 in Newbury Park, California. Nine people have been confirmed dead in the crash in Calabasas, among them Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
People gather around a makeshift memorial for former NBA and Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant after learning of his death, at LA Live plaza in front of Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 26, 2020. - Nine people were killed in the helicopter crash which claimed the life of NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter, Los Angeles officials confirmed on Sunday. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said eight passengers and the pilot of the aircraft died in the accident. The helicopter crashed in foggy weather in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas. Authorities said firefighters received a call shortly at 9:47 am about the crash, which caused a brush fire on a hillside. (Photo by Apu GOMES / AFP) (Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OREGON - JANUARY 26: The Portland Trail Blazers and Indiana Pacers honor the passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant prior to their their game at Moda Center on January 26, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Los Angeles Lakers fans gather to pay respects at a vigil for the late NBA star Kobe Bryant on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Los Angeles Lakers fans gather to pay respects at a vigil for the late NBA star Kobe Bryant on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Fans gather at LA Live to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant who died earlier in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Los Angeles Lakers fans gather to pay respects at a vigil for the late NBA star Kobe Bryant on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Los Angeles Lakers fans gather to pay respects at a vigil for the late NBA star Kobe Bryant on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Victor Nava holds up his sign at LA Live to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant who died earlier in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Distraught Los Angeles Lakers fan Naima Smith (wearing glasses) crying at a vigil for the late NBA star Kobe Bryant on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Images for the late Nipsey Hussle and Kobe Bryant are projected onto a screen while (L-R) YG, John Legend, Kirk Franklin, DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, and Roddy Ricch perform onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy )
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Los Angeles Lakers fans gather to mourn the death of retired NBA star Kobe Bryant at Xbox Plaza on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Bryant, 41, died today in a helicopter crash in near Calabasas, California. (Photo by Rachel Luna/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 26: After the first two possessions both teams took planned turnovers as the crowd chanted "KOBE" as Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors and Kyle Lowry #7 embrace as Dejounte Murray #5 of the San Antonio Spurs takes a moment during first half action at AT&T Center on January 26, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that ,by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Kobe Bryant's jerseys are seen at the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)
NEWBURY PARK, CA - JANUARY 26: People mourn at a makeshift memorial at Mamba Sports Academy for former NBA great Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash while commuting to the academy on January 26, 2020 in Newbury Park, California. Nine people have been confirmed dead in the crash in Calabasas, among them Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Host Alicia Keys speaks in tribute to the late Lakers player Kobe Bryant onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Host US singer-songwriter Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men sing in memory of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards on January 26, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 26: Tyson Chandler #19 of the Houston Rockets becomes emotional during a moment of silence of Kobe Bryant at Pepsi Center on January 26, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Timothy Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 26: A young fan hold a sign in memory of former player Kobe Bryant during a game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Boston Celtics at the Smoothie King Center on January 26, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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"For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals.

"But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.

"We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organisation and the entire sports world."

Bryant, born in Philadelphia in 1978, is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to appear in the NBA and spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

He was drafted in 1996 by the Charlotte Hornets at number 13, but was quickly traded to the Lakers where he would go on to become an 18-time NBA All-Star.

Los Angeles Lakers fans outside the Staples Center on Sunday

Alongside Shaquille O'Neal, Bryant helped the Lakers win three NBA championships in a row between 2000 and 2002. It is a feat that has not been matched since, with the Golden State Warriors losing in last year's finals having won two in a row.

O'Neal tweeted: "There's no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW".

Bryant, who was named the NBA's Most Valuable Player in 2008, would add two more NBA titles – in 2009 and 2010 – and on both occasions was named Finals MVP.

He stood third in the all-time NBA points list until Saturday night, when current Laker LeBron James pushed him down to fourth place.

James had told NBA.com after the game: "I'm just happy to be in any conversation with Kobe Bryant, one of the all-time greats to ever play."

Bryant tweeted on Saturday night: "Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother."

Bryant scored 81 points in one game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006 – the second most in any NBA game by an individual player behind Wilt Chamberlain – and dropped 60 in his final game before retirement in 2016.

The Lakers retired both of Bryant's shirt numbers – eight and 24 – in a ceremony in December 2017, when then franchise president Magic Johnson said: "We're here to celebrate the greatest who has ever worn the purple and gold."

Johnson tweeted on Sunday: "I'm in disbelief and have been crying all morning over this devastating news that Kobe and his young daughter, Gigi have passed away in a helicopter crash. Cookie and I are heartbroken. I love him, his family and what he stood for on the court and off the court."

Bryant was also part of the United States' NBA-winning Olympic squads in 2008 and 2012, while after his retirement he and animator Glen Keane won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for 'Dear Basketball' – which Bryant wrote and narrated.

A floral wreath honouring Kobe Bryant appears outside Staples Center in Los Angeles

The National Basketball Players Association tweeted: "We are stunned and devastated by the news of the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant. Words cannot express his impact on our players, the NBA and the game of basketball. This is a monumental loss for the entire basketball community and our hearts are quite simply broken. We send love and prayers out to his wife Vanessa and the entire family."

His impact on the game could be seen as sporting stars from around the world made tributes to Bryant on social media, including Andy Murray, Maradona, Simone Biles and Usain Bolt, while politicians and celebrities including Donald Trump, Barack Obama and Justin Bieber also paid their respects.

People were quick to leave flowers and other tributes to Bryant outside the Lakers' arena the Staples Center on Sunday as well as Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks.

Tributes were held before a number of the day's NBA games, as well as the NFL's Pro Bowl in Orlando.

In the NBA game between the Toronto Raptors and the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night, both teams let the 24-second shot clock run out in honour of Bryant, while Paris St Germain forward Neymar made a '24' gesture with his hands after scoring against Lille in Ligue 1.

Lakers next play against city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

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