NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash Sunday morning. Bryant was 41 years old and his daughter was 13.
Seven additional people, including the pilot, were on the helicopter’s flight manifest but will not be identified until the coroner’s report is released and family members are notified, according Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who held a news conference Sunday evening. Villanueva confirmed there were no survivors of the crash.
Although Bryant forged his legacy during his 20-year basketball career with the Los Angeles Lakers, he was a passionate fan of soccer. He grew up an A.C. Milan fan after being introduced to the sport while his father played basketball in Italy. Bryant traveled often to attend Major League Soccer games, as well as matches in Europe. He recently became a spokesperson for the partnership between energy drink company BodyArmor and MLS, which Bryant helped announce during MLS media day in Los Angeles earlier this month.
Over the course of his career, Bryant was a five-time NBA champion, an 18-time NBA All-Star and earned the MVP title in 2008. Considered one of the greatest to ever play the sport, he was the first guard to play at least 20 seasons in the league. Lakers forward LeBron James passed Bryant for third place on the NBA all-time scoring list the night before his death.
As players, coaches and fans in the NBA mourned Bryant’s loss, the news rocked the soccer world as well. Stars from the United States national team and MLS shared their sympathies following the news.
A legend, and a friend to us and our sport. Our hearts break today.
Rest In Peace, Kobe and Gigi. pic.twitter.com/R5qkgERv9k
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) January 26, 2020
Major League Soccer mourns the loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and all of the victims of today’s tragic accident. We are devastated by this news, and extend our condolences to the Bryant family and the families and friends of everyone involved. pic.twitter.com/iwEzfPiv8z
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) January 26, 2020
My heart is heavy with the news of Kobe Bryant. Prayers go out to his family right now through this unthinkable time.
— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) January 26, 2020
Heart going out to the Bryant family right now. ❤️. RIP @kobebryant
— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) January 26, 2020
A true inspiration on and off the court. Gone way too soon. ❤️ #KobeBryant
— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) January 26, 2020
I still can’t believe the news. I’m very sorry about what happened. My condolences and best wishes to Kobe’s whole family. #RIPMAMBA 💔😔
— Chicharito Hernandez (@CH14_) January 26, 2020
— DaMarcus Beasley (@DaMarcusBeasley) January 26, 2020
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The first time I met Kobe was at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. He was excited to watch our team play and he signed autographs for hours. He didn’t turn a single athlete away. He was such a gentleman and absolutely brilliant. This is such a sad day. My prayers go out to his family. Life is short, remember to love each other. ❤️ RIP Black Mamba.
GOD BLESS TO THE BRYANT FAMILY 🙏 pic.twitter.com/BpAglSxvNb
— Julian Green (@J_Green37) January 26, 2020
Brazilian star Neymar held up the number 24 in honor of Bryant after scoring a goal for Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday.
Neymar throws up the 24 for Kobe 💜 pic.twitter.com/mPUveZpNA2
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 26, 2020
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho spoke about Bryant in his post-game press conference, praising him as “a serial winner” and a “great example in the world of sport.”
— BeanymanSports (@BeanymanSports) January 26, 2020
Clubs and players throughout Europe — where Bryant commonly traveled to watch matches — also reacted to the news with grief and sympathy for Bryant’s family.
We are shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant.
The world of sport has lost a true legend. We send our heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of all the victims at this terribly sad time. pic.twitter.com/ZuNk5SClEe
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 26, 2020
Everyone at Manchester City is shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Kobe Bryant.
He was a true sporting icon and transcended the sport of basketball.
Our thoughts are with Kobe Bryant's friends, family and the entire Lakers organisation during this tragic time 💙 pic.twitter.com/Bg9cQN83ZG
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 26, 2020
— R.Lukaku Bolingoli9 (@RomeluLukaku9) January 26, 2020
One of the greatest sporting legends of all time gone far too soon.
RIP Kobe 🙏 pic.twitter.com/tyOn6BdH7v
— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04_en) January 26, 2020
“On behalf of myself, the players and staff at AS Roma, we join the rest of the sporting world in mourning the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant. Kobe was a true icon and our thoughts are now with his family and the families of all of the victims aboard that flight.”
Jim Pallotta pic.twitter.com/bsmBumeLpg
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) January 26, 2020