Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers basketball player, died in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday, leaving the US National Basketball Association mourning a legend.
Mr Bryant was one of five people killed in the crash around 10am PT on Sunday morning, according to the City of Calabasas, in Los Angeles county. The LA County Sheriff’s department said there were no survivors.
The 41-year-old, born in Philadelphia, spent his 20-year professional basketball career playing for the LA Lakers basketball team, where he famously partnered with the centre Shaquille O’Neal to form an all-star duo. Mr Bryant won five NBA championships and two gold medals for basketball, retiring from the sport in 2016.
Since his retirement, he remained an ambassador for the game, appearing as a frequent writer and commentator for ESPN, and showing up courtside at games. He won an Oscar in 2018 for best animated short film for his movie Dear Basketball.
Mr Bryant, whose jersey numbers 8 and 24 have both been retired by the Lakers, gave himself the nickname “Black Mamba” in reference to the competitiveness, ferocity and ability to score from anywhere on the court that he was known for.
Mr Bryant’s final tweet was in praise of one of the league’s biggest superstars, LeBron James, who passed him for third-place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list on Saturday night in Philadelphia.