Kobe Bryant's Not The Only One: See Stars Who Died In Helicopter Or Plane Crashes

Most Famous Plane Crashes
Source: Shutterstock (4)

Feb. 2 2020, Updated 11:30 a.m. ET

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Kobe Bryant's tragic death in a helicopter crash on Sunday, January 26, shocked fans around the world. But he's not the only celebrity to perish in a flight accident.

JFK Jr., singers Buddy Holly, John Denver, Troy Gentry, and Aaliyah, and such athletes as baseball pitcher Roy Halladay, golfer Payne Stewart, and NASCAR driver Davey Allison have died in tragic plane or helicopter accidents through the years.

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Bryant, 41, was among nine people, including his daughter Gianna "Gigi" Maria, 13, to die in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

Foggy weather conditions apparently caused the helicopter's pilot, pilot, Ara Zobayana, to smash into a hillside.

It burst into flames and started a brush fire in the Calabasas mountains.

NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy said in a press conference that it was a "high energy impact crash."

“The descent rate was over 2000 feet a minute….They missed clearing the mountain by 20 or 30 feet,” she explained.

Homendy revealed the shocking details of the final moments for the Lakers legend and the eight other people on the helicopter: “Descent to impact was probably about a minute.”

While many stars who died in flights were passengers like Bryant, "Rocky Mountain High" singer John Denver was his own pilot when he plowed his private plane into California's Monterey Bay in 1997.

Denver, who died alone, was just 53 and his experimental plane reportedly had been short on fuel.

John F. Kennedy Jr., with his wife Carolyn Bessette and her sister Lauren as passengers, also ran into trouble while piloting his own private plane. All three died in July 1999 when the late President's son apparently became disoriented in the fog over Martha's Vineyard. He was just 38.

Like Bryant, Gentry, 50, died in a highly unusual helicopter accident.

Half of the popular country duo Montgomery Gentry, the singer and his pilot went down in a copter in 2017.

The craft crashed near the runway of the Flying W Airport & Resort, a small airport and entertainment area.

Eddie Mongtomery, the other half of the duo, was at the airport waiting for Gentry to arrive when the accident occurred.

While beloved Lakers legend Bryant's flight death is the most shocking in years, he's not the first celebrity to die that way and sadly, won't be the last.

Scroll through Radar's gallery for more.

Day The Music Died

//big bopper ritchie valens buddy holly famous plane crashes_ _
Source: Getty Images

Ritchie Valens, Big Bopper, and Buddy Holly's

February 3, 1959 plane crash became known as "the day the music died." Three of the day's most prominent music talents were gone.

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Day The Music Died

//big bopper ritchie valens buddy holly famous plane crashes_ _
Source: Getty Images

Ritchie Valens, Big Bopper, and Buddy Holly's

February 3, 1959 plane crash became known as "the day the music died." Three of the day's most prominent music talents were gone.

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Day The Music Died

//big bopper ritchie valens buddy holly famous plane crashes_ _
Source: Getty Images

Ritchie Valens, Big Bopper, and Buddy Holly's

February 3, 1959 plane crash became known as "the day the music died." Three of the day's most prominent music talents were gone.

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Baseball Great

Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Early 1970's
Source: Getty Images

The legendary Pittsburgh Pirates hitter Roberto Clemente died December 31, 1972 in a crash off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico.

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Baseball Great

Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Early 1970's
Source: Getty Images

The legendary Pittsburgh Pirates hitter Roberto Clemente died December 31, 1972 in a crash off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico.

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Baseball Great

Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Early 1970's
Source: Getty Images

The legendary Pittsburgh Pirates hitter Roberto Clemente died December 31, 1972 in a crash off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico.

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Flying Too High?

Most Famous Plane Crashes
Source: David Dagley/Shutterstock

America was devastated to hear the news of John Denver's plane death. The singer whose ballads ruled the 1970s was flying illegally as he didn't have a pilot's license as that time. His plane took a nose dive into the Pacific Ocean. The NTSB later determined that poor placement of a fuel selector valve on his experimental plane had diverted Denver’s attention from flying.

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Band Broken

Ronnie Van Zant of Performing Live In New York in 1976.
Source: Getty Images

Ronnie Van Zant, the 29-year-old Lynyrd Skynyrd crooner, was one of six people, and four band members, killed October 20, 1977 when the Convair CV-300 he was in crashed in the woods.

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Band Broken

Ronnie Van Zant of Performing Live In New York in 1976.
Source: Getty Images

Ronnie Van Zant, the 29-year-old Lynyrd Skynyrd crooner, was one of six people, and four band members, killed October 20, 1977 when the Convair CV-300 he was in crashed in the woods.

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Band Broken

Ronnie Van Zant of Performing Live In New York in 1976.
Source: Getty Images

Ronnie Van Zant, the 29-year-old Lynyrd Skynyrd crooner, was one of six people, and four band members, killed October 20, 1977 when the Convair CV-300 he was in crashed in the woods.

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Catching Bad Luck

Thurman Munson of the New York Yankees
Source: Landov

Thurman Munson, the surly New York Yankee backstop, died, age 32, on August 2, 1979 while piloting a Cessna Citation near Canton, Ohio.

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Catching Bad Luck

Thurman Munson of the New York Yankees
Source: Landov

Thurman Munson, the surly New York Yankee backstop, died, age 32, on August 2, 1979 while piloting a Cessna Citation near Canton, Ohio.

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Catching Bad Luck

Thurman Munson of the New York Yankees
Source: Landov

Thurman Munson, the surly New York Yankee backstop, died, age 32, on August 2, 1979 while piloting a Cessna Citation near Canton, Ohio.

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Teen Idol Tragedy

Ricky Nelson Record Album
Source: Courtesy of Imperial Records

Ricky Nelson, the 45-year-old actor-singer, died December 31, 1985, when the Douglas DC-3 he was in crashed into a field near De Kalb, Texas, killing seven of the nine people aboard.

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Teen Idol Tragedy

Ricky Nelson Record Album
Source: Courtesy of Imperial Records

Ricky Nelson, the 45-year-old actor-singer, died December 31, 1985, when the Douglas DC-3 he was in crashed into a field near De Kalb, Texas, killing seven of the nine people aboard.

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Teen Idol Tragedy

Ricky Nelson Record Album
Source: Courtesy of Imperial Records

Ricky Nelson, the 45-year-old actor-singer, died December 31, 1985, when the Douglas DC-3 he was in crashed into a field near De Kalb, Texas, killing seven of the nine people aboard.

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Blues Shocker

Stevie Ray Vaughan Hanging Out Backstage
Source: Landov

Stevie Ray Vaughan, 35, was a guitar wizard. He died with four others on August 27, 1990 after the helicopter he was riding in crashed after taking off in foggy conditions.

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Blues Shocker

Stevie Ray Vaughan Hanging Out Backstage
Source: Landov

Stevie Ray Vaughan, 35, was a guitar wizard. He died with four others on August 27, 1990 after the helicopter he was riding in crashed after taking off in foggy conditions.

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Blues Shocker

Stevie Ray Vaughan Hanging Out Backstage
Source: Landov

Stevie Ray Vaughan, 35, was a guitar wizard. He died with four others on August 27, 1990 after the helicopter he was riding in crashed after taking off in foggy conditions.

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More Camelot Pain

Husband and wife Carolyn and John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1999
Source: Landov

John F. Kennedy Jr. died at, age 38, on July 16, 1999 while piloting a Piper Saratoga that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near his family's haven of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. His wife Carolyn and her sister Lauren also perished.

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More Camelot Pain

Husband and wife Carolyn and John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1999
Source: Landov

John F. Kennedy Jr. died at, age 38, on July 16, 1999 while piloting a Piper Saratoga that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near his family's haven of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. His wife Carolyn and her sister Lauren also perished.

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More Camelot Pain

Husband and wife Carolyn and John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1999
Source: Landov

John F. Kennedy Jr. died at, age 38, on July 16, 1999 while piloting a Piper Saratoga that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near his family's haven of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. His wife Carolyn and her sister Lauren also perished.

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Gliding Out

Payne Stewart hugs his trophy after winning the 1999 U.S. Open Championship
Source: Landov

Payne Stewart, the quirky golf ace, died October 25, 1999 in near Aberdeen, South Dakota en route to a golf tournament on a Lear Jet. The NTSB concluded that all aboard passed away due to hypoxia when the plane failed to pressurize.

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Gliding Out

Payne Stewart hugs his trophy after winning the 1999 U.S. Open Championship
Source: Landov

Payne Stewart, the quirky golf ace, died October 25, 1999 in near Aberdeen, South Dakota en route to a golf tournament on a Lear Jet. The NTSB concluded that all aboard passed away due to hypoxia when the plane failed to pressurize.

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Gliding Out

Payne Stewart hugs his trophy after winning the 1999 U.S. Open Championship
Source: Landov

Payne Stewart, the quirky golf ace, died October 25, 1999 in near Aberdeen, South Dakota en route to a golf tournament on a Lear Jet. The NTSB concluded that all aboard passed away due to hypoxia when the plane failed to pressurize.

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Gone Too Soon

Aaliyah At The 2000 MTV Awards
Source: Landov

Aaliyah's August 25, 2001 death was a shocker, as the music world lost one of its' biggest up and comers at just 22. Aaliyah's plane crashed near the Bahamas, killing the singer and eight others aboard.

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Gone Too Soon

Aaliyah At The 2000 MTV Awards
Source: Landov

Aaliyah's August 25, 2001 death was a shocker, as the music world lost one of its' biggest up and comers at just 22. Aaliyah's plane crashed near the Bahamas, killing the singer and eight others aboard.

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RIP

Most Famous Plane Crashes
Source: Chris Pizzello/AP/Shutterstock

Bryant is the most famous person to have ever died in a helicopter crash, and one of his four daughters with wife Vanessa went down with him.

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Harsh End

Most Famous Plane Crashes
Source: Matt Rourke/AP/Shutterstock

Former baseball pitcher Roy Halladay, 40, was killed when the private plane he was flying off the Florida coast crashed in the Gulf of Mexico in 2017.

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Crazy Death

Most Famous Plane Crashes
Source: Everett/Shutterstock

Singer Patsy Cline, just 30, died in 1963 with other country music stars Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins in a plane crash near Tennessee after a gig in Kansas. Pilot Randy Hughes lost control while flying low in difficult weather conditions.

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Time’s Up

Most Famous Plane Crashes
Source: AP/Shutterstock

Singer Jim Croce, known for such hits as "Time In a Bottle" And "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" died in 1973 at age 30 in a plane crash after a gig in Louisiana. The pilot of the Beechcraft E18S plane failed to clear a pecan tree while taking off and crashed. All six people aboard were killed.

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Family Tears

Most Famous Plane Crashes
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Dean Paul Martin, the handsome namesake actor son of famed singer/actor Dean Martin and the former husband of ice skater Dorothy Hamill, died in 1987 during a military training flight for the California Air National Guard. He and a fellow crewman died instantly when their fighter jet slammed into a remote mountainside in dense clouds in the San Bernadino Mountains. They ″perished instantly at the time of impact,″ a guard spokesperson said.

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Big Music Loss

Most Famous Plane Crashes
Source: AP/Shutterstock

Otis Redding was among eight people who died when the plane they were in crashed into a lake in December 1967 in Wisconsin. The “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” R & B singer was 26.

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Acclaimed Singer Gone

Most Famous Plane Crashes
Source: Lynne Sladky/AP/Shutterstock

Bilingual Jenni Rivera was one of the biggest stars of the banda genre, a brassy, percussive style of pop music invented in northern Mexico. She died in 2012 when her private plane crashed outside Monterrey, Mexico where she had earlier performed. She was just 43.

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Flyer Error?

Most Famous Plane Crashes
Source: Mark Foley/AP/Shutterstock

NASCAR driver Davey Allison lost his life at age 32 in 1993—not in a race car but flying a helicopter. He was en route to Talladega Superspeedway with racer Red Farmer as his passenger when he lost control of the chopper when trying to land. The NTSB blamed the crash on Allison's helicopter inexperience.

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Terrifying Death

Most Famous Plane Crashes
Source: Larry Marano/Shutterstock

Sadly, country star Troy Gentry probably had some time to think before his flight end. As The Blast reported, emergency dispatch audio indicated that the helicopter Gentry died in crashed after having hovered for several minutes in the air waiting for help. He was flying to a New Jersey concert. The NTSB said the crash was caused due to the error of his pilot, who also died.

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Impresario Mourned

Most Famous Plane Crashes
Source: Scott Weiner/Mediapunch/Shutterstock

In 1991, rock concert promoter Bill Graham and two other people were killed when their helicopter hit a utility tower and crashed near Vallejo, California.

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