Washington DC: American basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning (January 26), local media reported.

The 41-year-old Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter were among the nine who died in the crash in Calabasas, California.

Kobe and his daughter were heading to Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball game which was to be played later on Sunday.

One of the greats of the game, Kobe retired in 2016. He was an 18-time NBA All-Star and also won five championships.

Athletes from across the globe and millions of sports fans mourned the loss of Kobe.

Kobe’s last tweet had come on Sunday when he had praised Los Angeles Lakers’ star LeBron James who had surpassed Kobe in the all-time NBA scoring list. He wrote, “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother  #33644.”

In a statement, NBA commissioner Adam Silver mourned the tragic death of Kobe.

He said, “The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning.  He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary:  five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals.  But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability.  He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna. 

“We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world.”