When news broke Sunday morning a devastating helicopter crash had taken the life of 41-year-old basketball giant Kobe Bryant, sports fans the world over, reacted with shock to the loss.
As the hours passed, the news grew even more saddening—a total of nine lives were lost in the crash—and in addition to Bryant, included among the dead was his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
The helicopter went down Sunday morning under heavy fog conditions and low visibility. As of Monday morning investigators from National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were onsite, however the official cause of the accident remained undetermined.
According to CNN reporting the helicopter was operating under “special visual flight rules.” Such rules allow pilots to fly in weather conditions worse than those allowed for standard visual flight rules.
Also perishing in the crash were Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter, Alyssa. Christina Mauser, an assistant girls’ basketball coach for a private school in Corona del Mar, California was also killed in the crash.
The group was on its way to a Sunday afternoon basketball game where teammates Gianna and Alyssa were scheduled to play.
Kobe Bryant was a basketball phenomenon who came right out of a Philadelphia high school and into the pages of NBA history. During a 20-year career spent entirely with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant won five NBA championships, appeared in 15 All-Star Games, won four All-Star Game MVP Awards, two NBA Finals MVP Awards, a single regular-season MVP Award and two gold medals as a member of the U.S. Olympic Basketball teams in 2008 and 2012.
His scoreboard accomplishments were equally impressive. During his illustrious career Bryant had 1 eighty-point game, 6 sixty-point games, 26 fifty-point games, and 134 forty-point games.
Bryant retired from the NBA in 2016. There is little question he will be listed among the pantheon of champions not only in relation to the game of basketball’s greatest shooting guards—but among the greatest sports figures of all time.
Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and three other young daughters.