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Ex-Lakers star Kobe Bryant among 5 killed in helicopter crash

Jan. 26 (UPI) — Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among five killed in a helicopter crash Sunday in Calabasas, Calif.

The Federal Aviation Administration said a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed Sunday at 1 p.m. PST under unknown circumstances in Calabasas, a city of 23,000 people located about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported five people were on board and none survived.

TMZ first reported Bryant, 41, was on the helicopter. Other outlets, including ABC News and ESPN, confirmed the reports. His wife, Vanessa, was not on the copter.

ESPN reported Bryant, his daughter, and another parent and player were headed to a girls basketball game. The NBA has sent an email to its employees confirming the deaths of the Kobe and his daughter, the Atlantic reported.

The crash comes a day after Bryant was passed by Lakers star LeBron James for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant was active on social media Saturday night, congratulating James on the feat.

Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother #33644- Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020

Bryant, an 18-time All-Star, spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers and won five NBA championships.

Bryant announced his intent to retire from the league on Nov. 29, 2015, which launched a farewell tour around the NBA. He played in 66 matchups that season with the Lakers, averaging 17.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.

In his final professional game, Bryant scored 60 points and led the Lakers past the Utah Jazz on April 13, 2016. He is eligible for the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020.

A moment of silence was held before Sunday’s matchup between the Houston Rockets and Nuggets in Denver, the first game of the day.

Bryant married Vanessa Laine Bryant in 2001. The couple had four daughters together, aged 17, 13, three and seven months. They welcomed their fourth daughter, Capri Kobe Bryant, last June.

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