As reports broke of the death of retired Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant, tributes began pouring in on social media.
Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, were among nine people killed in a fiery helicopter crash Sunday morning outside of Los Angeles, officials confirmed.
Initial reports from the sheriff's department indicated five people were on the aircraft. The sheriff's department said later than nine people were aboard, citing the helicopter's manifest. A National Transportation Safety Board representative said the helicopter has several seating configurations.
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Bryant retired in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history, finishing two decades with the Lakers as a prolific scorer with a sublime all-around game and a relentless competitive ethic. 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, Bryant’s hometown
James on Monday said he was "heartbroken and devastated" in a post on social media. James joined the Los Angeles Lakers, the team with which Bryant became an NBA legend, in 2018.
Bryant welcomed James to the Lakers family with open arms.
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I’m Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had! I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have. WTF!! I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!! 😢😢😢😢💔. Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation💜💛 and it’s my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here! There’s so much more I want to say but just can’t right now because I can’t get through it! Until we meet again my brother!! #Mamba4Life❤️🙏🏾 #Gigi4Life❤️🙏🏾
Other celebrities, politicians and professional athletes expressed their condolences and shock over his death on Twitter.