“What’s your relationship with death?” Ringer reporter Micah Peters asked Kobe in 2016. “A comfortable one,” the late basketball player replied. “It’s a comfortable one. It’s an understanding.”
“You can’t have life without death,” he explained. “You can’t have light without dark. So it’s an acceptance of that and when it came time to decide whether or not I should retire that’s really an acceptance of that mortality all athletes face. And if you combat it, you’ll always have that inner struggle within yourself, you know what I mean? So I’m comfortable with it.”
Nine people — including Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant — died in a private helicopter crash in Calabasas, authorities said in a press conference. Kobe was just 41 years old.
Emergency services responded to the crashed chopper after a fire broke out, according to TMZ, but no one survived the accident. Kobe’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, and their other three children were reportedly not on board when the helicopter went down.
Kobe was a world-renowned athlete and the tributes to him poured out all over social media after his passing. Fellow athlete Shaq wrote, “There are no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my niece Gigi and 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. I’M SICK RIGHT NOW!”
The crash also happened the same day as the 2020 Grammy Awards, and celebrities at the event remembered him there. “It’s unthinkable. This is a man and a family that we have gotten to know over the years,” Ryan Seacrest said on Sunday. “He was on the phone with me a few months ago — [we talked about] his love of being a father and his daughters. So many artists here tonight will be thinking of him and wanting to share their stories. He was a music lover.”
Kobe will definitely be missed by those who loved him.