Basketball legend Kobe Bryant has been killed in a helicopter crash in California.
The 41-year-old, who spent his entire 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers, was one of five people on board a helicopter when it crashed outside the city of Calabasas, which is situated to the west of Los Angeles, at around 10am on Sunday morning.
His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also on board as the pair were travelling to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks for basketball practice.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the crash ignited a brush fire and made it difficult for firefighters and emergency personnel to get to the helicopter.
Bryant is one of the most successful basketball players of all time having won five NBA championships with LA Lakers, appeared in 18 All-Star games and scoring 33,643 points before retiring in 2016.
Bryant was also named NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008 and the MVP in two NBA Finals. He also won two gold medals for the USA at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
The cause of the crash is now under investigation, while witnesses have reported hearing the helicopter’s engine sputtering while it was still in the air.
A statement released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department read: ‘Five people confirmed deceased, no survivors in #Calabasas helicopter crash.
#LASD #Malibu deputies remain with #LA County Fire personnel. Investigation ongoing.