Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna, and seven others dead after helicopter crash Sunday morning

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CALABASAS, Calif. (AP) - NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others are dead after their helicopter went down in Southern California. The chopper crashed Sunday in Calabasas, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Authorities confirmed that nine people died, with no survivors. A person familiar with the crash tells The Associated Press that Bryant was among the victims. A second person familiar with the case says Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna also was killed. Bryant was an all-time basketball great who won five NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. Word of Bryant's death at age 41 is rocketing around the sports and entertainment worlds, with many stars taking to Twitter to register their shock, disbelief and dismay.

The 18-time NBA All-Star won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career spent entirely with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant retired in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history. He held that mark until Saturday night, when the Lakers' LeBron James passed him for third place during a game in Philadelphia, Bryant's hometown.

In his last tweet, Bryant wrote: ``Continuing to move the game forward (at)KingJames. Much respect my brother.''

Bryant had one of the greatest careers in recent NBA history and became one of the game's most popular players as the face of the 16-time NBA champion Lakers franchise. He was the league MVP in 2008 and a two-time NBA scoring champion, and he earned 12 selections to the NBA's All-Defensive teams.

He teamed with Shaquille O'Neal in a combustible partnership to lead the Lakers to NBA titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002. He later teamed with Pau Gasol to win two more titles in 2009 and 2010.

Michael Jordan has reacted to the news about the death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter in a helicopter crash. Jordan said he ``loved Kobe'' and the Kobe was like a little brother to him. Jordan was the most notable of former and current NBA stars to express how shocked they were at the news. Jordan commended Bryant for his fierce competitive streak and called him ``one of the greats of the game.''

In Europe where Kobe Bryant grew up, the retired NBA star is being remembered for his ``Italian qualities.'' Italian basketball federation president Giovanni Petrucci tells The Associated Press that Bryant is ``particularly important to us because he knew Italy so well, having lived in several cities here. He had a lot of Italian qualities.'' Bryant lived in Italy between the ages of 6 and 13 while his father played for several teams in the country. Italian coach Ettore Messina called Kobe a ''supernatural.`` He says that ``to hear him speak and joke in our language and to remember when his father played here and he was a kid drew a lot of people to the NBA.''



 
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