Reports: Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash (Updates)

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant is dead in a helicopter crash. Via Los Angeles Times:

Kobe Bryant, the legendary basketball star who spent 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, was killed Sunday when the helicopter he was traveling in crashed and burst into flames Sunday morning amid foggy conditions in the hills above Calabasas, sources told the L.A. Times.

The crash occurred shortly before 10 a.m. near Las Virgenes Road, south of Agoura Road, according to a watch commander for 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 aircraft, he said. Sources at the scene said they believed there were multiple fatalities, but the exact number was unclear.

ESPN also confirmed the 41-year-old’s death.

Compounding the issue, TMZ reports that Bryant’s reps said his 13-year-old daughter was killed in the crash also.

This…this is pretty shocking.

I was never a Lakers fan or a Bryant fan (#MFFL) but the man was so talented as a basketball player. He was respected by all his peers, even if he and Shaq enjoyed biting at each other. Bryant also matured as a player, according to former Head Coach Phil Jackson, and became more team first instead of “me first.”

The fact it also happened the day after LeBron James passed Bryant for third all-time in NBA scoring is just shocking too.

Bryant’s last tweet was praising James for his basketball play.

More will obviously be released as the investigation to the crash begins, but wow…RIP Kobe.

UPDATE: (Taylor)

More information and reaction is starting to be released.

Los Angels County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters this afternoon nine people were on board the craft but declined to identify them until the Coroner’s Office finishes their work and next of kin is notified.

Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli also died in the crash. He was with the Pirates for 24 seasons.

The NBA, player’s association, and Magic Johnson also posted statements regarding Bryant’s death:

This is how the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors started their game today.

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