Ex-basketball Star Kobe Bryant, Eight Others Dead in Helicopter Crash in California

Bryant's 13-year-old daughter was travelling with him

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Kobe Bryant smiles during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia, December 1, 2015.
Kobe Bryant smiles during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia, December 1, 2015.Credit: Matt Slocum,AP

Retired basketball star Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning, the city of Calabasas reported.

LA County Sheriff's department said in a news conference eight others were believed to have been killed in the accident, according to the passenger manifest. Causes of the crash were unknown.

Kobe Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also on the helicopter, several major U.S. media outlets reported. One of her basketball teammates, a parent of the teammate, and the pilot were also killed, NBC News reported.

"It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Kobe Bryant and four others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. The aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 this morning. Nobody on the ground was hurt," the city of Calabas said on Twitter.

First responders put out the flames of the crash site, the sheriff's department said, posting a picture of a fire truck and smoke emerging from the brush in a ravine.

Bryant, 41, was known to use a helicopter for travel dating to his days as a star player for the Los Angeles Lakers, when he commuted to games in a Sikorsky S-76 chopper, the celebrity news website TMZ said.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration identified the crashed helicopter as a Sikorsky S-76, saying in a statement that the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board would investigate.

Bryant won five NBA championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was an 18-times NBA All-Star who wore the No. 24 during his 20-year career with the team.

Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, have four daughters: Gianna, Natalia, Bianca and Capri, who was born in June 2019.

Bryant's star power translated into the entertainment world as he mingled with show business stars in Los Angeles.

In 2018 he won an Oscar for his animated short film "Dear Basketball."

But he was also accused of sexual assault in 2003 by an employee at a Colorado hotel, tarnishing his reputation and leading to a media storm to cover his trial.

Bryant denied the claims and charges eventually were dropped after the woman refused to testify.

Bryant and his wife Vanessa filed for divorce in 2011 after 10 years of marriage but in 2013 the couple said they had reconciled their differences.

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