It has been confirmed by multiple outlets that 2017 Oscar winner and NBA legend Kobe Bryant has died at the age of 41 following a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Bryant is reportedly one of a group of at least five people who died during a Sunday morning helicopter flight.
Initially reported by TMZ Sports (and soon corroborated by the Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter, and other outlets), Bryant was on board a private helicopter with at least five other people on Sunday morning. It is believed, per TMZ, that a fire broke out on the helicopter which caused it to crash in Calabasas. TMZ also reported that eyewitnesses allegedly heard the helicopter’s engine sputtering before it eventually crashed. Even with these details, officials are still investigating to determine the true cause of the crash. It is unconfirmed at this time who else was on board the helicopter. Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, was not on board.
Bryant leaves behind a towering legacy primarily thanks to his 20-plus year career playing for the NBA team the Los Angeles Lakers. He was a five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star selection. As far as his time with the Lakers is concerned, Bryant racked up many superlatives, including leader in points (33,643), steals (1,944), 3-pointers (1,827), free throws (8,378), and games played (1,346). Until Saturday, January 24, Bryant was the number 3 scorer in NBA history before LeBron James overtook him and secured that spot over the weekend. He was also voted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008. He retired from the NBA in 2016. Following his retirement, Bryant won an Oscar in 2018 for Best Animated Short for his autobiographical Dear Basketball.
Included below are reactions to Bryant’s tragic and unexpected passing from celebrities, including Jeffrey Wright, Octavia Spencer, Chrissy Teigen, and Josh and Benny Safdie.
Kobe literally just broke the internet.
Life is just so beyond our capacity to control. May his loved ones and those of all who perished find peace.
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) January 26, 2020
RIP Kobe! My thoughts and prayers are wirh your family.
— octavia spencer (@octaviaspencer) January 26, 2020
I cannot believe this is real. My god. Oh my god.
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) January 26, 2020
Gods don’t die. pic.twitter.com/tJJFyQeTul
— SAFDIE (@JOSH_BENNY) January 26, 2020
Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 26, 2020
Like everyone, I’m stunned and saddened by the news about Kobe Bryant. My heart is broken for his wife and family.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 26, 2020
Sending my love to Laker fans everywhere. Life can be so short. Hug your kids and call your parents and let your friends know you love them #kobe
— Ike Barinholtz (@ikebarinholtz) January 26, 2020
Jesus this is heartbreaking.
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) January 26, 2020
This is heartbreaking. Rest In Peace Kobe.
— Nick Jonas (@nickjonas) January 26, 2020
I'm so sad and stunned right now. In Staples Arena, where Kobe created so many memories for all of us, preparing to pay tribute to another brilliant man we lost too soon, Nipsey Hussle. Life can be so brutal and senseless sometimes. Hold on to your loved ones. We miss you, Kobe
— John Legend (@johnlegend) January 26, 2020