Kobe was traveling with at least 3 other people in his private helicopter when it went down. A fire broke out. Emergency personnel responded, but nobody on board survived. 5 people are confirmed dead. We’re told Vanessa Bryant was not among those on board.
Eyewitnesses also tell us that they heard the helicopter’s engine sputtering before it went down. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Kobe has famously used a helicopter to travel for years — dating back to when he played for the Lakers. He was known for commuting from Newport Beach, CA to the STAPLES Center in DTLA in his Sikorsky S-76 chopper.
KB is survived by his wife Vanessa, and their four daughters — Gianna, Natalia and Bianca and their newborn Capri.
Kobe has recently been spotted out at NBA games with his daughter Gianna — a rising star basketball player herself. Their youngest daughter, Capri, was just born in June 2019.
Kobe is widely considered one of the greatest NBA players of all time — making 18 All-Star teams during his 20 year career with the Lakers. He was a first-round pick in the 1996 draft, winning 5 NBA championships, 2 NBA Finals MVPs and he was the league MVP in ’08.
He was on 15 All-NBA Teams, 12 All-Defensive Teams and led the league in scoring for two seasons. He ranks fourth in the NBA for all-time regular season scoring and all-time postseason scoring.
The Lakers famously retired both of Kobe’s jerseys, number 8 and 24 … the only player in team history to receive that honor.
Kobe’s accomplishments stand far outside of the basketball world. He won an Oscar for his short film, “Dear Basketball,” in 2018.
On Saturday, LeBron James passed Kobe as third on the all-time NBA scoring list. He paid tribute to Bron on Instagram — his last post — by saying, “On to #2 @kingjames! Keep growing the game and charting the path for the next.”
Early reports indicate that the engine failed on the helicopter. More to come on this developing story.