Gianna Bryant, 13, among victims of Calabasas helicopter crash

Retired NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among the nine victims killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas Sunday morning, officials said.

The victims include eight passengers and the pilot. There were no survivors, Los Angeles County authorities said.

Gianna, who went by Gigi, also loved basketball and became a force on the court. She played for the Los Angeles Lady Mambas, which was coached by her father.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department received a call just before 9:45 a.m. about a potential helicopter down and a brush fire near the intersection of Las Virgenes Road and Willow Glen Street, Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl L. Osby said in a news conference Sunday afternoon.


Preliminary information reported there were three people dead at the scene before officials confirmed there were more victims.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the aircraft was a Sikorsky S-37.

Shaquille O'Neal, a former teammate and longtime friend to the Bryant family, referred to Kobe as his "brother," and Gigi as his "niece."

There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released the following statement:

“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals. But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna."

Bryant leaves behind his wife, Vanessa, and three daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.

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