The news of the passing away of the American basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year old daughter Gianna Maria Onore Bryant shook the world in the early hours of Monday as they were were tragically killed in a helicopter crash.
Bryant and Gianna were among the nine people-inlcuding the pilot- killed when a helicopter they were travelling in crashed amid foggy conditions and burst into flames in the hills above Calabasas, local media reported.
John Altobelli, the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College, alongside wife Keri Altobelli and their daughter, Alyssa Altobelli, were also killed in the crash.
Alyssa was a teammate of Gianna’s. John, 56, and Keri are also parents to daughter Alexis Altobelli and son J.J. Altobelli, who works as a scout for the Red Sox.
Bryant, 41, and his daughter were expected at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball game scheduled for Sunday afternoon (local time), CNN reported.
41-year-old Bryant had won five National Basketball Association (NBA) championships in his 20-year-long career while playing for Los Angeles Lakers.
The news of Kobe Bryant’s death continues to shock not only the National Basketball Association but the sports world in general.
Kobe Bryant, despite being one of the truly great basketball players of all time, was just getting started in life. He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future. The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2020
US President Donald Trump has reacted to Bryant’s death, calling it “terrible news”.
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
Former President Barack Obama mourned Bryant’s death, describing him as a “legend on the court”.
“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,” Obama tweeted.
NBA athletes paying tribute to ‘Mamba’
Most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of basketball players. But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete. pic.twitter.com/9EZuwk8wrV
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) January 26, 2020
As I try to write this post, my mind is racing. I’m in disbelief and have been crying all morning over this devastating news that Kobe and his young daughter, Gigi have passed away in a helicopter crash. Cookie and I are heartbroken. pic.twitter.com/X2vF0M0a1u
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 26, 2020
Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gigi was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah. pic.twitter.com/BHBPN5Wq8V
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020
— Mr. Nuclear Cocaine (@MrNukemCocaine) January 27, 2020
My heart is broken for Kobe and his family. I’ll never forget the battles but what I really admired was the father he was to his girls. Rest In Peace old friend with your angel Gianna 💔
— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) January 26, 2020
Beyond devastated… my big brother… I can’t, I just can’t believe it
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) January 26, 2020