Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest legends in NBA basketball, was killed in a fiery helicopter crash on Sunday, Jan. 26, in Calabasas, California. The superstar, 41, was traveling with eight others, who also died.
According to reports from TMZ Sports, Bryants 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria Onore was on the flight with her father, they were on their way to basketball practice at Mamba Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks. Gianna was also killed in the crash.
Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa and his three other daughters, Natalia and Bianca and newborn Capri. Bryant and Vanessa were married in 2001.
The Federal Aviation Administration told Fox News the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed under “unknown circumstances.”
According to The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, all on board had died.
Around the time of the crash, L.A. Times reporter Richard Winton reported that the mountains were “fogged in.” “It [didn’t] sound right and it was real low. I saw it falling and spluttering. But it was hard to make out as it was so foggy,” Jerry Kocharain told the Los Angeles Times. “You could hear it – thump, thump, thump – and then a loud thud,” Pastor Bob Bjerkaas, who was teaching Sunday school at the Church in the Canyons, told USA Today.
The Pastor’s wife ran outside and noticed grey smoke coming from the mountains, according to the report. Bjerkaas said it was “dense.” “My guess is he was flying low,” he said.
“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
After being selected in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, Bryant was then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac before the start of the 1996-97 season. History proved it to be one of the most important NBA trades.
Bryant finished his career as an 18-time All-Star, 15-time All-NBA team, 12-time All-NBA Defensive Team selection, two time NBA Finals MVP and the 2008 NBA MVP.
Orange Coast College said its head baseball coach, John Altobelli, was also among those killed. A family member told CNN Altobelli’s daughter and wife were also aboard the helicopter.
Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach at the Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar, was also identified as a victim, according to KTLA. Matthew Mauser, her husband, took to Facebook to announce the loss.
“My kids and I are devastated. We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash. Please respect our privacy. Thank you for all the well wishes they mean so much,” he wrote in a post.