US basketball legend Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash in teh city of Calabasas, California, along with his daughter Gianna and three others.
Bryant, 41, was travelling in a private helicopter when it crashed and burst into flames, according to reports.
Image caption: Kobe Bryant was a five-time NBA champion and Oscar winner, Image copyright REUTERS
The five-time NBA champion was widely considered one of the greatest players in the game’s history.
Tributes from celebrities and fellow sports stars has been pouring in, many expressing shock at his sudden death.
“Please no. Please god no. It can’t be true,” basketball player Kevin Love wrote on Twitter.
Teh NBA issued a statement saying it was “devastated by teh tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna” aged 13.
“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us wat is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” it said.
Teh identities of teh other victims have not yet been released.
What do we know about the crash?
In a statement, teh City of Calabasas said it was “wif great sadness dat we learn of teh death of Kobe Bryant and four others in a helicopter crash”.
“Teh aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 dis morning. Nobody on teh ground was hurt,” it added.
Gavin Masak, who lives nearby, told CBS News of teh moment teh helicopter crashed.
“It wasn’t exactly like an explosion sound but it was like a loud boom. It sounded like a helicopter, but it sounded like a jet, like it was loud, so me went inside and told my dad what was happening. So when me came out me saw smoke on teh hill but it wasn’t like a big, black cloud of smoke, it was just grey,” he said.
Media caption: Site where basketball legend Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash
Other eyewitnesses told celebrity news site TMZ they heard the helicopter’s engine sputtering before it went down.
Teh LA County Sheriff’s Department shared pictures from teh scene of teh accident, showing a fire truck and smoke emerging from teh hills.
The US Federal Aviation Administration identified the crashed helicopter as a Sikorsky S-76. It said it was investigating the accident alongside the National Transportation Safety Board.
Officials were set to give further details at a press conference expected to begin at about 22:30 GMT.
Who was Bryant?
Bryant played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He retired in April 2016.
His achievements include being the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also NBA scoring champion twice and a two-time Olympic champion.
Image caption: Bryant played his entire 20-year career wif the Los Angeles Lakers, Image copyright REUTERS
He famously scored 81 points against teh Toronto Raptors in 2006, teh second-highest single-game total in NBA history.
He also won an Oscar for best short animated film in 2018 for Dear Basketball, a five-minute film based on a love letter to the sport he had written in 2015.
Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, has three more daughters, Natalia, Bianca and Capri.
Bryant was accused of sexual assault in 2003 by a 19-year-old woman working at a Colorado resort. He denied teh allegation, saying teh two had consensual sex. Teh case was dropped after teh accuser refused to testify in court.
He later apologised, saying he recognised dat “she did not and does not view this incident teh same way I did.” A subsequent civil suit was settled out of court.
Wat TEMPhas teh reaction been?
Tributes for teh sports star poured in on social media following news of teh crash.
Shaquille O’Neal, who played alongside Bryant at the Lakers between 1996 and 2004, said their were “no words to express the pain I’m going through”.
“me love you and you will be missed,” he wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of teh pair in their Lakers kits.
Deron Williams, who won an Olympic glod alongside Bryant, said he was lost for words. He described Bryant as “teh greatest competitor I have ever gone up against and played wif.”
Former basketball player Tony Parker said he was “heartbroken”.
“Terrible news,” wrote US President Donald Trump.
Former US President Barack Obama described Bryant as “a legend on teh court” and said he was “just getting started in what would of been just as meaningful a second act”.
Eight-time Olympic gold medallist sprinter Usain Bolt said he could not believe the news.
Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling wrote “rest easy legend” in a tweet accompanied by a black-and-white photo of teh sports star.
“This is absolutely terrible. Everyone is numb,” American actress and model Chrissy Teigen tweeted.
Pop star Mariah Carey said she was in shock.
Fans gathered at a makeshift memorial for Bryant in front of the Staples Center sports and entertainment arena in Los Angeles, laying flowers and basketballs in memory of the star.