Basketball legend Kobe Bryant, 41, died Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in Calabasas.
Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria Onore Bryant was also killed, sources with knowledge of the situation say.
Kobe’s former teammate Shaquille O’Neal shared his thoughts on Bryant’s passing:
“There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of loosing my niece Gigi & my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you and you will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW!
An hour later, the all-star center shared a second message:
“Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. We love our families. Whenever we got together I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gianna was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah. I miss you already brother. This is truly unbelievable. Everyone please keep the Bryant’s in your prayers. R.I.P”
A heralded career
Bryant’s death comes a day after LeBron James passed him as No. 3 on the NBA all-time scoring list when he scored 33,643 points.
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother,” Bryant tweeted Saturday night.
Born in Philadelphia, Bryant was drafted to the NBA straight out of Lower Merion High School near Philadelphia in 1996. He was the youngest player in NBA history at that time, at 18 years, 2 months and 11 days.
Bryant played his entire professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers and won five NBA championships.
Bryant has two Olympic gold medals for men’s basketball.
Bryant retired in April 2016.
The nation mourns Bryant’s death
Everyone from current and former NBA players to the mayor of Los Angeles mourned Bryant.
“Nooooooooooo God please No!” retired NBA player Dwyane Wade tweeted at the news.
Former NBA player Scottie Pippen tweeted: “I’m stunned. Words can’t even come close to describing it. Just an incredibly sad and tragic day.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called Bryant a “giant who inspired, amazed, and thrilled people everywhere with his incomparable skill on the court — and awed us with his intellect and humility as a father, husband, creative genius, and ambassador for the game he loved.
“He will live forever in the heart of Los Angeles, and will be remembered through the ages as one of our greatest heroes.”
President Donald Trump tweeted about Bryant’s death in the crash, “That is terrible news!”
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