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NBA Legend Kobe Bryant, Daughter Gianna Among 9 People Dead In Helicopter Crash

Kobe Bryant Press Conference
Source: Shutterstock(2)

Jan. 27 2020, Updated 2:45 p.m. ET

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NBA Legend Kobe Bryant was among the nine killed in a helicopter crash, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, RadarOnline.com has learned.

Kobe was 41 years old.

In a press conference, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department revealed that the incident took place early Sunday morning on January 26, 2020.

"Today shortly before 10 at 9:47 a.m. the Los Angeles Fire Department received a 911 call of a potential helicopter down in a brush fire... in the city of Calabasas," Chief Daniel Osby from the Lost Hills Sheriff's station explained. "Upon arrival our firefighters discovered approximately a quarter acre brush fire that resulted from the crash on the hillside."

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"The LAFD initial response was 15 pieces of apparatus and 56 personnel that consisted of paramedics, heavy rescue, truck company, hand crews, aircraft, and a chief officer to oversee the crash. Upon arrival of the Sherrif's department, our two departments worked together. Our firefighters hiked into the accident site using their medical equipment and hosed lines to extinguish the stubborn fire, as it included the brush fire, debris from the helicopter, and the fire also included magnesium — which was very hard for our firefighters to extinguish."

"Earlier into the incident our firefighters did a search of the area for survivors; unfortunately all the survivors on board were determined to be perished. The investigation is still ongoing."

"We've established a containment area," Sheriff Osby continued. "Nine people on board the aircraft, the pilot, plus eight other people. No identities have been confirmed. It would be extremely disrespectful to make those identities at the time before the next of kin have been identified" adding they "are going to wait until the coroner does their job," before official identities are released.

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Despite police refusing to identify any individuals, reports state that Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli was also a victim in the crash.

On Twitter, current and former NBA players shared their disbelief in learning that Kobe had died.

Kobe's former Lakers teammate Shaquille O'Neal posted to Instagram to say he was sick over the news.

"There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of loosing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you brother and you will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board," O'Neal wrote.

Michael Jordan also released a heartbreaking statement:

"I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe's and Gianna's passing. Words can't describe the pain I'm feeling. I loved Kobe -- he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often and I will miss those conversations very much. He was a fierce competitor."

Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban wrote:"We can never forget how precious life is. How those who are special to you and never let them forget how deeply you love them."

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The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the Calabasas California helicopter crash.

“A S-76 helicopter crashed this morning under unknown circumstances near Calabasas, Calif. Local authorities say that five people were on board. Please check with local authorities for more information on the condition of the occupants,” the FAA said in its statement.

Kobe was heading to the Mamba Sports Academy. Kids and parents were awaiting Kobe and his daughters' arrival as they set to play in a tournament at 12 noon PT.

Gasps and shocks filled the basketball court as children were on bended knees praying at the Mamba academy when they first learned of the news.

According to the aviation weather center, Kobe's helicopter took off during foggy conditions which prevented other choppers from flying.

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Thousands showed up to the Staple center to pay tribute to the all star athlete.

In his final Instagram post, Kobe honored Lebron James after the fellow NBA star surpassed his all-time-scoring list.

Kobe started his career in the NBA with the Lakers in 1996, earning five championship titles. He retired 20 years later in 2016 after succumbing to several injuries.

After retiring, Kobe earned a Oscar for Best Animated Short Film titled "Dear Basketball."

He is survived by his four daughters, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months and wife, Vanessa, 37.

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