Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar who won five championships with the team and was often compared to Michael Jordan, died Sunday in a helicopter crash. He was 41.
Officials confirm to Variety that Bryant was a passenger on board a helicopter that crashed in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas.
Bryant was reportedly traveling in his own private helicopter when it crashed. Four other people were killed.
According to TMZ, Bryant’s 13 year-old daughter Gianna also died in the crash. They were reportedly en route to her basketball practice in Thousand Oaks.
Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fatal crash. There was extensive fog in the Los Angeles area on Sunday morning.
The night before, LeBron James passed Bryant as the third-highest scorer ever in the National Basketball League. Bryant tweeted his congratulations to James following the game in Philadelphia, which also happens to be Bryant’s hometown.
An 18-time NBA All-Star and widely considered to be one of the greatest scorers of all time, Bryant was voted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008 and went on to win two gold medals with the USA Men’s Basketball team in 2008 and 2012.
Bryant’s highest scoring total for a single game came in 2002 when he put up 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. Only Wilt Chamberlain, at 100 points, had a bigger single-game in NBA history.
After retiring from the NBA in 2016, Bryant launched a production company, Granity, which focused on projects that blended both sports and entertainment. He won an Academy Award in 2018 for the short film, “Dear Basketball,” directed by Glen Keane, which was based on a poem he wrote before he said goodbye to the NBA.
Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and three daughters, Natalia, Bianca and Capri.