The basketball world, the football world — the world, period — is mourning the sudden loss of retired Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday morning in a helicopter crash outside Calabasas, Calif. He was 41.
Shortly after the crushing news broke, several Dallas Cowboys players took to Twitter, like everyone else, in sadness and utter disbelief.
“No words man… A Legend gone way too soon! This feels like a bad dream! #RIPMamba,” wide receiver Randall Cobb wrote.
“R.I.P. Kobe Bryant. A great, a legend, someone to truly idolize. My condolences go out to his family and to the families of those who lost their lives as well,” WR Tavon Austin wrote.
“This one is just different! Won’t ever be the same, you changed how people view the game and for that you will always be an idol #RIP Kobe #MambaMentality,” WR Michael Gallup wrote.
“My heart hurts right now,” defensive lineman Christian Covington wrote.
“I’ll never forget walking through Target, hearing a woman tell her daughter that Kobe Bryant just died. Shocked the hell out of me. I’m still in utter disbelief that we lost one of the greatest athletes of all time…” tight end Dalton Schultz wrote.
“SICK. Heavy heart. Whatever it is. Rest In Peace #24,” offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo wrote, alongside a goat emoji.
“I remember getting 2k10 and Kobe was on the cover, when mycareer first came out. I played that game until 20132, I’m really sick,” cornerback Jourdan Lewis wrote.
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More Details on Helicopter Crash
Countless media reports — unsubstantiated — were setting Twitter alight, some claiming Bryant’s four daughters were on board the helicopter and perished in the crash.
TMZ, which broke the story, originally reported that five people were killed when the chopper, flying amid foggy and low-visibility conditions, smacked into a hillside around 10 a.m. PT. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed five people are deceased but did not name the casualties as of this writing. A press conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. PT.
TMZ has since added that Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, flying with Bryant and the other passengers, passed away in the tragic wreck. Kobe, a longtime proponent of helicopter travel, and Gianna, an aspiring basketball player, were en route to the Mamba Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks, Calif., for a basketball practice.
“Eyewitnesses also tell us that they heard the helicopter’s engine sputtering before it went down,” TMZ wrote.
An 18-time NBA All-Star and five-time champion (two-time Finals MVP) during 20 seasons with the Lakers, Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa, who TMZ reports was not on the helicopter, and three daughters: 17-year-old Natalia, three-year-old Bianca, and seven-month-old Capri.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL