Kobe Bryant died in a Calabasas, Calif. helicopter crash Sunday morning at the age of 41. Daughter Gianna “Gigi,” 13, was among those killed in the helicopter crash, according to officials. The pair was reportedly en route to Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif., for one of Gigi’s travel basketball games, alongside another parent and child. There were nine fatalities in total, according to AP.
Known as one of the NBA’s all-time greats, Bryant made the NBA All-Star Game twice over the course of his 20 years in the league. He won five NBA championships, two NBA Finals MVPs and one league MVP before retiring from basketball in 2016. Outside of the NBA, Bryant was a dedicated husband of Vanessa and father to four girls; in addition to Gigi, they include Capri Kobe, Natalia Diamante and Bianka Bella.
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Many big names took to social media to remember Bryant as the quintessential family man. “As I scrolled through Kobe’s feed, and Alex and I talk memories and moments we remember about him … this is the truth that rings out the loudest … family is what matters most,” Jennifer Lopez wrote on Instagram. “We are all feeling sadness from this loss, but all I can think of is that it is a grain of sand compared to what Vanessa must going through right now.
I am sending all of my love and praying for you, your children and the other families involved in today’s tragic turn of events. The most unfair thing in life is to lose a child and husband on the same day. … Kobe, you meant so much to so many and we will miss you forever.
Thank you for your work ethic, your inspiration and your heart.” After retiring from the NBA, Bryant stayed near the basketball court through his role as coach to his daughters. Known as “Mambacita” in reference to her father’s nickname, Gigi had already garnered national attention for her impressive fadeaway shot.