Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday, according to reports.
News site TMZ was the first to report the former Los Angeles Lakers star’s death, which occurred in a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter, according to reports. The Los Angeles County Fire Department said at least five people died in that crash in the hills of Calabasas, Calif., just north of Los Angeles.
According to the Los Angeles Times, citing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the crash occurred shortly before 10 a.m. local time near Las Virgenes Road, south of Agoura Road.
Bryant’s death comes a day after Lakers forward LeBron James passed him for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant had congratulated James via Twitter during the Lakers’ 108-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, about 16 hours prior to his demise.
ESPN showed that James had inscribed “Mamba 4 Life” and “8/24 KB” in gold marker on his shoes before Saturday’s game, as a sign of acknowledgment to Bryant.
The basketball star played 20 seasons in the NBA and was an NBA All-Star 18 times. He won won five basketball championships with the Lakers.
Bryant was considered a near-lock to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, with inductees set to be announced Feb. 14, during the NBA All-Star Weekend. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s list of candidate, included Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh, Shawn Marion, Michael Finley, Tamika Catchings and Swin Cash.
In 2018, he won an Academy Award for “Dear Basketball” an animated short, based on a 2015 poem. He narrated the five-minute film, which was directed by Glen Keane.