Tributes pour for basketball legend Bryant, daughter killed in helicopter crash 

US basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna are among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in the city of Calabasas, California.

Bryant, 41, and Gianna, 13, were travelling in a private helicopter when it came down and burst into flames.

The LA county sheriff said there were no survivors.

Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, played for the LA Lakers throughout his career and is considered one of the greatest players in the game’s history.

Tributes for the sports star poured in on social media following news of the crash.

Shaquille O’Neal, who played alongside Bryant at the Lakers between 1996 and 2004, said there were “no words to express the pain I’m going through.”

“I love you and you will be missed,” he wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of the pair in their Lakers kits.

Deron Williams, who won an Olympic gold alongside Bryant, said he was lost for words. He described Bryant as “the greatest competitor I have ever gone up against and played with.”

There have also been tributes from celebrities and fellow sports stars have been pouring in, many expressing shock at his sudden death.

Moments of silence have been observed at basketball games across the US. Bryant has also been remembered at the Grammy Awards which are being held at the Los Angeles Lakers’ stadium.

“We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now,” said Grammys host Alicia Keys. “Because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero. We’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”

The NBA issued a statement saying it was “devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.” For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” it said.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the helicopter manifest indicated that nine people were on board when it crashed, raising the number from five in earlier statements by officials.

In a statement on Sunday afternoon, the City of Calabasas said it heard the news “with great sadness.”

“The aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 this morning. Nobody on the ground was hurt,” it added.  – BBC

CAPTION: Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna died in the crash

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