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Kobe Bryant Dies in Helicopter Crash

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles. He was 41.
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Basketball legend Kobe Bryant died Sunday in a helicopter crash over Calabasas, California. He was 41 years old.

Bryant's daughter, Gianna, also was on board and died in the crash. Bryant and his daughter were reportedly on their way to a travel basketball game with another player and parent, according to Sports Illustrated.

A total of nine people died in the helicopter crash Sunday morning. Reports earlier said five people had died. 

"It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Kobe Bryant and four others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas," said the city on its Twitter page Sunday afternoon.

"We extend out deepest sympathies to those closest to Kobe, especially his family and friends," wrote Nike  (NKE)  in a post on Twitter later Sunday. The shoemaker called the athlete "one of the greatest" of his generation.

During a press conference Sunday, the L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said nine people were on board the aircraft, including the pilot. 

“It is entirely inappropriate right now to identify anyone by name,” he said.

The Los Angeles Times said the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter had crashed on Sunday morning in the area with multiple fatalities reported.

Bryant was an 18–time All-Star and 11-time All-NBA first-teamer who led the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships. He retired from the Lakers after the 2015-2016 season.

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The National Basketball Players Association issued the following statement:

"We are stunned and devastated by the news of the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant. Words cannot express his impact on our Players, the NBA and the game of basketball. This is a monumental loss for the entire community and our hearts are quite simply broken. We send love and prayers out to his wife Vanessa and the entire family."

Michael Jordan said, "“I loved Kobe - he was like a little brother to me,” Jordan called Bryant  “one of the greats of the game.”

Bryant also founded Bryant Stibel with entrepreneur Jeff Stibel in 2013. Bryant Stibel is a venture capital firm focused on businesses including media, data, gaming, and technology.

One of Bryant's most iconic games was an 81-point performance against the Toronto Raptors in 2006, which ranks as the second-most points scored in an NBA game, behind Wilt Chamberlain's 100 on March 2, 1962. 

Bryant scored 60 points in his final game when the Lakers defeated the Utah Jazz 101–96 on April 13, 2016.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating, according to the FAA, which said the crash occurred under "unknown" circumstances. 

Founded in 1923, Sikorsky Aircraft is a U.S. aircraft manufacturer based in Stratford, Conn. It is owned by Lockheed Martin  (LMT) .

Latest Updates on Kobe Bryant Tragedy from TheStreet and Sports Illustrated