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UPDATE as of 2:41 PM PT
The LA County Sheriffs just confirmed in a press conference, that nine people were on board the helicopter, the pilot and 8 others…unfortunately all nine have perished. They are not publicly identifying any of the victims until next of kin is notified.
UPDATE as of 12:50 PM PT
It is with a heavy heart, that we report his daughter Gianna Maria Onore aka Gigi, 13, has also been confirmed as one of the victims. The news was confirmed by TMZ. They were on there was to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball practice. There are truly no words.
Let’s all say a prayer for the Bryant family.
According to TMZ, Kobe Bryant has been reported dead after being involved in a helicopter crash in Calabasas this morning.
Kobe was in his private helicopter along with four others when a fire broke out. Emergency personnel responded to the scene and five people were confirmed dead. Vanessa Bryant was not among those on board.
Eyewitnesses told TMZ, they heard the helicopter’s engine “sputtering” before it went down. Kobe has always used a helicopter to travel, dating back to his Laker days. He was known for flying by private helicopter from his home in Newport Beach to the Staples Center.
Kobe will be remembered as one of the greatest NBA players of all time, he was a first-round draft pick in 1996, has won 5 NBA championships, is two-time NBA Finals MVP and he was the league MVP in 2008. The Lakers also famously retired both of his jerseys, #8 and #24. He is the only player in the team’s history to receive the honor.
Kobe and Gianna are survived by his wife Vanessa, and there three other daughters, Natalia, Bianca, and their newborn Capri who was just born in June. He was just 41 years old.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, we will continue to update as the story develops.