There has been no word yet on funeral arrangements.
The cause of the crash in foggy weather west of Los Angeles is still being
Kobe Bryant, 41, was on his way to coach his daughter’s basketball team in a
local youth tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy.
In the Instagram post, Vanessa Bryant also said: “We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring
husband, Kobe – the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet
Gianna – a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to
Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.”
The devastated wife added: “I
wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken
from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s
impossible to imagine life without them.”
Vanessa Bryant also thanked for the public support, and announced the formation
of a fund to help support the other families that were affected by the crash,
the Mamba Sports Foundation.
The other victims included the pilot, two other 13-year-old girls involved
in the tournament, three of their parents and another coach.
Kobe Bryant was a five-time NBA champion for his only team,
the Los Angeles Lakers, and a double Olympic gold medalist.
After a 20-year career with the team Kobe Bryant retired in April 2016.
The identities of the other victims
have not yet been released.
In a statement, the City of
Calabasas said it was “with great sadness that we learn of the death of
Kobe Bryant and four others in a helicopter crash”.
The statement added: “The aircraft went down in a remote
field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 this morning. Nobody on the ground was
Gavin Masak, who lives nearby, told
CBS News of the moment the helicopter crashed.
He said: “It wasn’t exactly like an explosion sound but it was like a loud
boom. It sounded like a helicopter, but it sounded like a jet, like it was
loud, so I went inside and told my dad what was happening. So when I came out I
saw smoke on the hill but it wasn’t like a big, black cloud of smoke, it was
Other eyewitnesses told celebrity
news site TMZ they heard the
helicopter’s engine sputtering before it went down.
The LA County Sheriff’s Department
shared pictures from the scene of the accident, showing a fire truck and smoke
emerging from the hills.
The FAA identified the crashed
helicopter as a Sikorsky S-76. It said it was investigating the accident
alongside the NTSB.
Officials are set to give further
details at a press conference at 2PM, local time.
Kobe 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.
Kobe Bryant was also two-time NBA scoring champion and a two-time Olympic champion.
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