Kobe Bryant Has Died In A Helicopter Crash (UPDATE)

Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest basketball players of all time and a future Hall of Fame inductee, has died in a helicopter crash. In news first reported by TMZ, Bryant was one of a reported five people who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning in Calabasas. He was 41 years old.

While TMZ was the first to report the crash involved Bryant, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department did announce that a helicopter crash occurred in the area earlier in the day, although they had not released the names of any victims.

Eventually, the terrible news was confirmed by Variety.

Officials confirm to Variety that Bryant was a passenger on board a helicopter that crashed in the Los Angeles County suburb of Calabasas.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed the worst shortly thereafter.

The news comes one day after Bryant was passed by LeBron James for third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, in which he tweeted congratulations and support to James.

Over the course of his 20-year career in the Association, all of which was spent as a member of the Lakers, Bryant averaged 25 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game. Bryant’s list of accolades is one of the longest in league history, as he was a five-time NBA champion, an 18-time All-Star, and was named league MVP in 2008.

UPDATE: Conflicting reports surfaced in the wake of the crash about the safety of his wife, Vanessa, and four daughters. Sadly, TMZ later reported that Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, was on board and also died in the crash.

The two tragic losses were reportedly confirmed by the NBA in an email to its employees on Sunday afternoon.

Official reports indicated later Sunday that nine passengers were on the manifest of the helicopter, but gave no updates on the identities of who was on board.