Kobe Bryant died at the age of 41 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, TMZ reports. According to ESPN reporter Ramona Shelburne, there were eight other people were traveling with the retired NBA star, including Kobe’s daughter, Gianna, 13. There were no survivors.
While the cause of the crash is under investigation, photos and video from the location where the helicopter crashed down were shared online, showing the devastating scene. Bryant and his daughter were reportedly on their way to one of her basketball games when the helicopter crashed. CNN meteorologist Michael Guy reported that there was extremely low visibility at the time of the crash.
Guy said, “Relative humidity was 100% meaning the air was like soup.”
While firefighters rushed to investigate the crash site, LA County Sheriffs tweeted that all surrounding roads will be closed while they investigate the crash. “All NB & SB lanes on Las Virgenes Rd from Lost Hills Rd to Agoura Rd are CLOSED – Use N/Sbound Lost Hills Road to access Las Virgenes Rd – Agoura Rd between Liberty Canyon Rd & Lost Hills road is CLOSED.”
The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter is a medium-size commercial utility helicopter with twin turboshaft engines and four-bladed main and tail rotors, according to Lockheed Martin. The company describes it as “smooth, reliable, quiet,” and calls it “your boardroom in the sky.”
“Since 1977, more than 875 S-76® aircraft have been delivered world-wide,” Lockheed says on its website. “Sikorsky is proud of the S-76 fleet’s legacy. With more than 7.4 million hours of safe, successful flight, we are committed to supporting the platform and to continuous product improvements.”
Video shows that the helicopter continued to emit large flumes of white smoke hours after the crash.
As the world mourns the legend that was Black Mamba, the video below showing Bryant sitting courtside with his daughter Gianna went viral on Twitter with tributes poured in honor of their untimely passing.
Bryant Was Photographed Stepping Aboard His Helicopter In 2013
A previous photo from 2013 showed Bryant boarding the helicopter with the same tail number involved in the crash. It was painted black matte and featured his Black Mamba emblem.
GQ wrote in 2010,
“He takes a private helicopter from Orange County, where he lives with his wife and two children, to every home game. It’s a nice dash of glitz, a touch of showbiz that goes well with the Hollywood sign in the hazy distance. But sexy as it might seem, Bryant says the helicopter is just another tool for maintaining his body. It’s no different than his weights or his whirlpool tubs or his custom-made Nikes. Given his broken finger, his fragile knees, his sore back and achy feet, not to mention his chronic agita, Bryant can’t sit in a car for two hours. The helicopter, therefore, ensures that he gets to Staples Center feeling fresh, that his body is warm and loose and fluid as mercury when he steps onto the court.”
Bryant also used the helicopter to treat his teammates to weekends in Las Vegas and to fly to victory celebrations. In 2012, Bryant took the chopper so teammate Steve Blake could make it to doctor’s appointment in Orange County after suffering an abdominal strain.
NFL Pro Bowl Held A Moment Of Silence For Bryant
The news of Bryant’s death has come as a tragic shock to all his fans, family, former teammates, and friends.
The announcer at the NFL Pro Bowl game, which kicked off in Orlando, Florida, at 3 p.m. ET, asked for a moment of silence in his honor. He said, “NBA legend Kobe Bryant was an extraordinary talent who thrilled and entertained sports fans around the world for a generation.”
The NFL also released the following official statement: