Updated at 6:48 pm EST.
Kobe Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star and five-time champion during his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers died suddenly in a helicopter crash on Sunday. He was 41. At first, five people were reported to have died in the crash, including Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter.
UPDATE: According to California authorities, nine people were aboard the helicopter, there were no survivors.
Bryant died in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. It was unclear if family members were on the helicopter. The crash happened around 10 a.m. near about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Just before 5 pm est Sunday, President Barack Obama tweeted: "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."
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said it was a Sikorsky S-76 and it was not known what caused the crash.
Colin Storm was in his living room in Calabasas when he heard “what sounded like a low-flying airplane or helicopter.” “Ït was very foggy so we couldn’t see anything,” he said. “But then we heard some sputtering, and then a boom.”
A short time later the fog cleared a bit and Storm could see smoke rising from the hillside in front of his home.
The Los Angeles Lakers Twitter account has confirmed Bryant’s death.
“The entire Los Angeles Lakers family wishes to support their family and friends. RIP Kobe.”
Bryant was an NBA giant and a mentor to current and former players and many wear his signature Nike shoe during games. Bryant retired from the NBA in 2016. He was to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year.
Bryant’s final tweet was late Jan. 25 to congratulate LeBron James in passing him in all-time NBA scoring. James moves lass Bryant in a game at Philadelphia on Jan. 25.
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother
Bryant recently won an Academy Award for best animated short in 2018.
ESPN has reported that Bryant was on his way to a youth basketball event with his young daughter when the helicopter crashed. Over the past year, Bryant was spotted at NBA games along with his daughter, Gianna.
Even though Bryant had a stellar basketball career that includes multiple awards, he was accused of sexual assault in Colorado in 2003 but the case never went to trial. A connected civil suit was settled out of court.
Others with NBA connections shared their disbelief and remembrance on social media.
More tweets as the story continues
National Basketball Players Association Statement
Kobe's daughter dreamed of going into the WNBA
Tweet from the Navajo Nation President
Facebook Post with Kobe and L.A. Williams at Dine' College
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement today regarding the passing of Kobe Bryant
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Vincent Schilling contributed to this report.