A massive loss. Retired basketball star Kobe Bryant died on Sunday, January 26, during a private helicopter crash in Calabasas, TMZ reported. He was traveling with nine other people, but no one survived the horrible accident. He was 41 years old.
According to the outlet, emergency services responded to the downed aircraft after a fire broke out. Nine people have been confirmed dead in connection with the crash. Kobe’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, was reportedly not on board. Her Instagram page has since gone private. It was later reported that his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died with him in the crash.
The world-renowned athlete played a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, starting in 1995. Kobe was so skilled on the court, he was drafted into the NBA directly from high school. The Philadelphia native had five NBA championships under his belt with an MVP award back in 2008. He was an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team and 12-time member of the All-Defensive team.
Though he is widely thought to be one of the greatest men to ever play the sport, the basketball prodigy was more than just skills. “When your Laker dream comes true tomorrow, you need to figure out a way to invest in the future of your family and friends,” Kobe wrote to his younger, pre-pro self in The Players’ Tribune in July 2016. “I said INVEST. I did not say GIVE.”
“Purely giving material things to your siblings and friends may appear to be the right decision,” he continued in his letter about being generous with his people. “But the day will come when you realize that as much as you believed you were doing the right thing, you were actually holding them back. You were adding material things to their lives, but subtracting the most precious gifts of all: independence and growth.”
Needless to say, his celeb friends — and the world at large — have been gutted by the tragedy. “Please don’t let this be true. I’m shaking,” Khloé Kardashian tweeted, while Dwyane Wade wrote, “Nooooooooooo God please No!” Singer Khalid wrote, “RIP Kobe. This is heartbreaking. Unbelievable.”
Our hearts are with the Bryant family and all their loved ones during this unimaginably heartbreaking time. Rest in peace, Kobe — we will never forget you, on and off the court.