NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s daughter Gianna “Gigi” Maria-Onore Bryant reportedly died along with her father in a private helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday, January 26, according to TMZ. The 13-year-old was the second-oldest daughter of the 41-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers player and his wife, Vanessa Bryant. The duo was reportedly on their way to Bryant’s Mamba Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks for basketball practice when the aircraft crash-landed, tragically killing all nine passengers onboard. The names of the other three passengers have not yet been released.
Gianna and Bryant were very close. She was a talented basketball player like her famous dad, and he proudly coached her Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team for the past two years. In early 2020, a video of Bryant and his daughter deep in conversation on the sidelines of an NBA game went viral, and gave a glimpse into their special relationship.
Fans were excited to see Gigi’s career blossom, as she was a passionate player and had dreams of attending the University of Connecticut as part of their team after graduating from Sierra Canyon High School. In October 2018, Bryant was caught on camera telling NBA Hall of Famer Reggie Miller of her plans. “She is hellbent on UConn. Really,” he told Miller, who was trying to convince him to send her to the nearby UCLA. “Come on, you don’t want her to go that far,” he said. “Her momma don’t want her to go that far,” Bryant responded with a laugh.
Bryant and Vanessa share three other children: 17-year-old Natalia Diamante Bryant, 3-year-old Bianka Bella Bryant, and 7-month old Capri Kobe Bryant, who the couple welcomed on June 20, 2019.
Celebrities and fans alike were devastated by the news. Gigi Hadid shared a photo of the father-daughter duo and wrote, “This is too much. Rest In Peace and love together, legends. Growing up a Kobe fan brought so much joy to my life, like so many, and we were all so excited to see sweet Gigi play someday. Sending strength and my deepest condolences to Vanessa and the Bryant family during this unbelievable time.” Kylie Jenner sent love as well, writing, “at loss for words right now. praying for this beautiful family.”
Our hearts are with the Bryant family in this difficult time.