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Kobe Bryant Dies At 41

Kobe Bryant, one of basketball’s greatest players and most masterful scorers of all time, was among the passengers who died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

Bryant was 41.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in an afternoon news conference the passenger manifest for the helicopter indicated nine people were on board. There were no survivors. Early reports said five people were aboard.

Villanueva declined to confirm any identities, saying he would wait for the coroner.

Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna was also killed in the crash, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person, who was granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the matter, said Gianna and her father were en route to an AAU basketball game Sunday morning when the helicopter crashed.

In a statement released by the league, NBA commissioner Adam Silver mentioned Bryant and his daughter by name, though, saying, “The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. … We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world.”

Calabasas, a city of about 25,000 people in the Santa Monica Mountains, is about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Bryant retired in 2016 as a five-time NBA champion, 11-time All-NBA first-team selection, 2008 MVP, two-time Finals MVP, 18-time All-Star and four-time All-Star MVP who spent his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He also won gold medals with USA Basketball at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics.

 

by Jeff Zillgitt

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