Earlier today, we received the tragic news that NBA legend Kobe Bryant had passed away at the age of 41.
The superstar athlete had been involved in a helicopter crash this morning which claimed the lives of everyone on board. And according to TMZ, that includes his daughter Gianna, who was 13 years old. From what we understand, the two of them were on their way to the Mamba Academy near Thousand Oaks, California, heading to basketball practice.
For those familiar with Kobe’s family, you’ll know that Gianna was looking to follow in her father’s footsteps (with the youngster hoping to play for UConn one day) and Bryant had been pretty active in coaching his daughter’s middle school team in recent years.
“It’s been fun!” he said about the experience last year. “We’ve been working together for a year and a half and they’ve improved tremendously in that time. I’ve got a group of great parents, a group of really, really intelligent, hardworking girls, and — they’re all seventh graders, they’re all 12 years old — but they’ve been playing so well!”
It’s still unknown who else was on the helicopter with Kobe and Gianna when it went down, but reports say that there was another player and parent with them and in total, there were at least 5 people involved in the crash. The exact cause of the incident is still being determined by authorities and investigations are currently underway, but the vehicle reportedly crashed on a hillside and burst into flames at around 10am this morning.
Of course, Bryant will always be remembered for his incredible contributions to the game of basketball. As one of the greatest to ever play it, his long career saw him rack up numerous NBA championships, MVP titles, All-Star appearances and more, breaking record after record after record along the way.
Kobe Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa and their three other children: Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, who’s just 7 months old. At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with them and the rest of athlete’s friends and family.