Celebrities have reacted to the tragic news of Kobe Bryant's death on Sunday night. The 41-year-old was reportedly travelling with four other people in his private helicopter on Sunday before it crashed close to Los Angeles at 10.01 local time. Tragically, TMZ has confirmed with the star's representatives that his oldest daughter, 13-year-old Gianna Maria Onore, also died in the crash. TMZ reported: "We're told they were on their way to the Mamba Academy for a basketball practice when the crash occurred. The Academy is in nearby Thousand Oaks."
Kobe Bryant was a legendary player with the LA Lakers
The area in which the helicopter came down was Calabasas, known for its wealthy residents, including the Kardashian family. Khloe Kardashian was one of the first to express her shock and sadness on Twitter. The reality TV star posted: "Please don’t let this be true. I’m shaking," followed by a broken heart emoji.
Nashville star Hayden Panettiere also tweeted about the tragedy, writing: "I can’t believe the legend is gone. Doesn’t seem real that a man that big in spirit could b touched. Reminds us that we’re ALL on borrowed time. RIP #Kobe We love you. #Legend #KobeBryant."
Athlete Usain Bolt also paid tribute to the star, posting: "Still can't believe @kobebryant," with three praying hands emojis. John Legend's wife and model Chrissy Teigen shared her grief as well, posting: "I cannot believe this is real. My god. Oh my god."
Her husband also shared a heartfelt tribute, writing: "I'm so sad and stunned right now. In Staples Arena, where Kobe created so many memories for all of us, preparing to pay tribute to another brilliant man we lost too soon, Nipsey Hussle. Life can be so brutal and senseless sometimes. Hold on to your loved ones. We miss you, Kobe."
It is unknown who else was on board, although a rumour that basketball player turned actor Rick Fox was on the flight has been debunked. Kobe and his wife, Vanessa Bryant married in 2001 and shared four daughters, the youngest of whom was born in June 2019.
Tony Imbrenda, the Los Angeles County Fire captain, told reporters that he could not confirm who was on board but he did confirm that there were no survivors of the crash. ESPN's NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted later on Sunday evening that there another player and their parent were on board the helicopter with Kobe and his daughter.
The terms "Kobe", "Kobe Bryant", and "RIP Legend" quickly began trending on the social media site. The five-time NBA champion spent his 20-year basketball career playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, making him a long-time hometown favourite.