US basketball legend, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna are among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in the city of Calabasas, California.
Bryant, 41, was travelling in a private helicopter when it came down and burst into flames. The LA county sheriff said there were no survivors.
Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, played for the LA Lakers throughout his career and is considered one of the greatest players in the game’s history.
Tributes from celebrities and fellow sports stars have been pouring in, many expressing shock at his sudden death.
Moments of silence have been observed at basketball games across the US. Bryant has also been remembered gat the Grammy Awards which are being held at the Los Angeles Lakers’ stadium.
“We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now,” said Grammys host Alicia Keys.
“Because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero. We’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”
The NBA issued a statement saying it was “devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna” aged 13.
“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” it said.
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.
Bryant played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers
He famously scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006, the 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, have three other 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 the allegation, saying the two had consensual sex. The case was dropped after the accuser refused to testify in court.
He later apologised, saying he recognised that “she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did.” A subsequent civil suit was settled out of court.