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Kobe Bryant - A Legend Who Transcended Basketball - And 13-Year-Old Daughter Gianna, Have Died In A Helicopter Crash

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Sunday morning, while taking a helicopter ride from L.A., a NBA legend who transcended the game of basketball, lost his life.  Kobe Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, have died. The developing story inside.

UPDATE: Along with Orange Coast baseball coach John Altobelli being identified as one of the victims, his wife and daughter - Gianna's teammate - were also confirmed as victims.

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The impossible news is hitting everyone hard. In completely tragic and unfathomable news, father of 4 Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant have died in a fatal plane crash in the L.A. area.  Kobe's wife of 19 years, Vanessa Bryant, was reportedly not on the flight. 

 

The couple just welcomed their fourth daughter, Capri Bryant, who is 7 months old.

 

Kobe, Gianna, along with multiple others (there are unconfirmed reports from an ESPN reporter about who they are), were on their way to a 12pm basketball game near Thousand Oaks at the Mamba Sports Academy with the team Gianna played on and that Kobe coached. There were no survivors.

The police sheriff stated during today's press conference that there were a total of 9 dead in the helicopter crash, based on the manifest. 

It is confirmed one fatality is John Altobelli, a coach of the Orange Coast College baseball team.

The father and daughter were expected at the game and, according to a CNN reporter, many who were there waiting for their arrival let out an audible gasp and cries as the horrific news was delivered to them.

 

 

The cause of the crash is still being determined, but authorities, experts and pilots are all preliminarily pounting to heavy fog conditions and a possible mechanical failure despite this helicopter model being deemed one of the safest on the market. Kobe even traveled by helicopter to almost all practices and games throughout his career with the Lakers as it was the most efficient mode of transportation for him in L.A.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department says at 9:47am they received a 9-1-1 call that a helicopter was down amid a brush fire that resulted due to the helicopter crashing into the hillside near Calabasas. Firefighters on the scene said there was a field of debris on the steep terrain and a quarter acre brush fire. The paramedics were flown to the scene of the incident, hoisted down to search for survivors, and there were none. Crews worked to extinguish the fire, preserving as much as possible for the ongoing investigation to take place.

The news is absolutely heartbreaking.  A man who has always appeared to be invincible, a man who singlehandedly turned the NBA into a global organization when he entered the league at 18 for a two-decade-long career with only one team, was taken away from his family, loved ones, and admirers in the blink of an eye.

Once Kobe retired in 2016 after an epic farewell tour, he delved into family life and his other passions like filmmaking and coaching, and it was beautiful to watch.

Kobe was a huge advocate and lover of all sports - especially his first love of soccer - and of equality in sports as it relates to women.  He proudly had taken his daughter Gianna under his wing to become Mambacita - her nickname - and to carry on his legacy.  She had dreams of playing for UCONN and in the WNBA.  He also helped coach his oldest daughter Natalia Bryant's volleyball team.

 

Players around the league - regardless of the relationship they had with the perfectionist leader - have been pouring out their hearts about this horrific news.

 

LeBron James, who just tributed Kobe last night after surpassing his all-time scoring record, was the last person Kobe spoke about on his social media. it's interesting, as the two have always been compared throughout their careers. But LeBron made it known - in an emotional post game interview last night - that Kobe is who inspired him to become who he is today.

 

 

"My brain . . . it cannot process failure. It will not process failure. Because if I sit there and have to face myself and tell myself, ‘You’re a failure’ . . . I think that’s almost worse than death." - Kobe Bryant.

 

17-time All Star, 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist, 5-time NBA champion, MVP, Oscar winner, sport enthusiast, father, husband, coach, champion for equality and women's sports, leader. A life, LIVED. Rest in peace, Mamba.

 

 

Our deepest condolences to all of the families and loved ones of all of the victims.

#MambaOut #MambaForever

 

Photos: Getty/Shutterstock

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