Kobe Bryant, NBA icon and PA native, dies in helicopter crash
Basketball superstar and Philadelphia area native, Kobe Bryant died Sunday in a helicopter crash, as first reported by TMZ. He was 41.
According to the same report, five people are confirmed dead from the crash — Bryant, three other passengers and the pilot. TMZ Sports reported as of 4 p.m. that one of Bryant's four daughters, 13-year-old Gianna, also was among those killed in the crash.
The athlete's wife, Vanessa Bryant, and their three other girls, Natalia and Bianca and Capri, were not on-board, TMZ also reported.
The cause of the chopper crash and subsequent fire are under investigation.
Los Angeles County authorities planned to share more details about the crash at a news conference around 5 p.m., eastern time.
Bryant became a basketball star as a teen at Lower Merion High School in the Ardmore section of Lower Merion, a Philadelphia suburb. He played on the varsity team as a freshman.
Bryant entered the NBA directly from high school and played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA championships along the way.
Bryant retired in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history. He held that spot in the league scoring ranks until Saturday night, when the Lakers’ LeBron James passed him for third place during a game in Philadelphia.
The last tweet from Bryant's Twitter account before the chopper crash congratulated James for the cumulative 33,644 points.
Among those reacting to the news of Bryant's death, fellow Philadelphia native, director M. Night Shyamalan. He wrote on Twitter, "Shocked and saddened to hear about Kobe Bryant. To us in Philly he was one of ours. His loss will be felt throughout the city. #ripkobe"
Several NFL pros also were among the first to react to the stunning news. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Carson Wentz tweeted "A legend is gone too soon. RIP Kobe. #mamba"
Bryant was a lifelong Eagles fan and was among those excited when his hometown team won the Super Bowl in 2018. A social media clip shared by his wife was re-shared by ESPN, as seen below.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
More Jersey Shore News: