Former NBA player Kobe Bryant has died following a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The Los Angeles Times reported that a helicopter crashed into a hillside above the city of Calabasas on Sunday morning, resulting in multiple fatalities. TMZ was the first to confirm Bryant was on board and one of several passengers who were killed. Bryant was 41.
Gianna Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, was also killed in the crash. The National Basketball Association confirmed their deaths in a memo sent to all teams and league employees, the New York Times reports. The father and daughter were reportedly on their way to a travel basketball game, ESPN reports.
The crash occurred just before 10am PT amid foggy conditions. A resulting brushfire made it difficult for emergency personnel to get to the craft. Four others on board also died, leaving no survivors, the Los Angeles Times reports. Refinery29 reached out to Bryant’s representative for comment.
Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, had three other daughters together: Natalia, 17; Bianka, 3; and Capri, 7 months.
Bryant joined the NBA straight out of high school in 1996. He held the record as the youngest NBA player to start a game in 1997 and for the second highest number of points scored in a game in NBA history in 2006. In his career, Bryant was a member of five NBA championship winning teams, won two Olympic gold medals, and was on the NBA All-Star team 17 times. Bryant passed a record held by Michael Jordan on the NBA's all-time scoring list in 2014.
Bryant retired from basketball in 2016. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called him "one of the greatest players in the history of our game."
His goodbye letter to the sport, "Dear Basketball," became a short animated film for which Bryant won an Oscar in 2018.
Bryant's life wasn't without scandal. In 2003, he was charged with sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman who worked in a Colorado hotel. He denied the accusation and the case was eventually dropped when his accuser refused to testify against him in court.
Bryant founded the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, along with his wife, in 2007. The foundation’s stated goal is to “provide young people with life-changing experiences designed to broaden their global perspectives.” Through it, the foundation has funded youth scholarships, youth sports organisations, and organizations fighting youth homelessness. Bryant also hosted a yearly youth summer basketball camp.
Following his retirement from professional basketball, Bryant started a venture capital fund called Bryant Stibel in 2016 with a co-investor. The duo aimed to invest in technology, media, and data companies.
“If you would have asked me 10 years ago, I would say I need to win now,” Bryant told the Wall Street Journal about his second career. “Age tends to give you perspective. The most important thing I enjoy now is helping others be successful. I enjoy doing that much much more, that’s something that lasts forever, and hope they do that for the next generation.”
This is a developing news story, additional information will be added as it becomes available and it has been updated throughout.