Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story reported five people were killed in the helicopter crash.
CALABASAS, California (KXAN) — Basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Maria were among nine people that died in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California on Sunday morning.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report that Bryant and his daughter were on their way to a travel basketball game when the helicopter crashed. Those aboard the helicopter also included another player and parent.
Initial reports stated five people were killed in the crash. Authorities provided an updated count at a Sunday afternoon press conference.
The call of the downed helicopter came in around 10 a.m. local time according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, NBC News reported.
The city manager for Calabasas confirmed to NBC News that Bryant was on the helicopter.
“Unfortunately there were no survivors,” Los Angeles County Fire Captain Tony Imbrenda told reporters Sunday.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames and are working to preserve the scene of the crash for investigators.
A former University of Houston assistant baseball coach, daughter, and wife were among the nine people killed in the crash, CNN reports.
John Altobelli, 56, was aboard the aircraft with his daughter Alyssa Altobelli and wife Keri Altobelli, the coach’s brother Tony Altobelli told CNN.
Altobelli was the longtime head baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California.
Bryant’s daughter, Gianna, and Alyssa were teammates at the Mamba Academy and were flying from Orange County to Thousand Oaks to attend a game, Orange Coast College assistant coach Ron La Ruffa told CNN.
The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team of 18 people to the scene of the helicopter crash.
NTSB member Jennifer Homendy said at a news conference that investigators will look at the pilot’s history, the maintenance records and information on the helicopter’s owner and operator. Homendy said investigators were not sure how many people the aircraft was configured to carry.
The helicopter that crashed was a twin-engine Sikorsky S-76.
The former Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard, a father-of-four, was just 41.
He was a five-time NBA champion with the Lakers between 1996 and 2016, and was named Most Valuable Player in 2008.
Bryant also won two gold medals at the Olympic Games as part of the US basketball team.
Bryant went to 18 All-Star games earning the MVP award in four All-Star games.
When he retired in 2016 after 20 years with the Lakers, Bryant was third in career points in the NBA with 33,583. He was overtaken in total points on Saturday by LeBron James.
On Jan. 22, 2006, Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors marking the second-highest point total in NBA history for a single game behind Wilt Chamberlain.
Statements on Bryant’s death
NBA players, world leaders and fans reacted to Bryant’s death with tributes on social media and at L.A. Live near the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement on Bryant’s death Sunday afternoon.
“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 the game,” Silver said.
Six-time NBA Champion Michael Jordan issued a statement on Twitter through his publicist.
“I loved Kobe — he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much. He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force,” Jordan said.
San Antonio Spurs CEO RC Buford released a statement on the news as well:
“Kobe inspired all of us. In San Antonio, we were blessed to have enjoyed a front row seat to his greatness. He had an unmatched combination of determination, skill, competitiveness, personality, grace, passion and intelligence. The loss of Kobe and Gianna leaves a giant hole in our hearts. It’s impossible to express the pain we feel for Vanessa and the Bryant family.”
‘You have to respect greatness’: Texans remember Kobe Bryant
Texans and those around the world seemed to have a moment of reflection on Sunday for Kobe Bryant.
The San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors took time out of Sunday’s game at the AT&T Center to remember him and his daughter, with people in the crowd and even players tearing up at the loss.
Many fans were still shaken as they left the arena today.
“He parted the sea wherever he wanted to go,” says Paul Martinez, who is from Houston.
“He was too good, too good for the game. He was a master of his craft,” says Chris Brown, a Houston Rockets fan.
“The way that he was humble and the way that he carried himself,” says Josette Manzan, a San Antonio Spurs fan.
Manzan grew up a loyal Spurs fan with her brothers, but admired Bryant, she says.
“He was somebody who had big dreams since he was little and had his eyes set on one goal and he did it, so that was a big inspiration to me,” says Manzan, who now coaches a local volleyball team.
It’s not uncommon in competition: Rooting against Bryant while acknowledging his skill.
“My very first Rockets game that I went to was a game they played the Lakers and they whooped up on us,” Brown says.
“Ever since then I’ve just been like, watching the Lakers to hate on Kobe, I’m not even going to lie.”
Brown says it was tough to watch, but he recognizes Bryant’s legendary 20-year career.
“You have to respect greatness,” he says.
It’s not just his mark on the court but the Mamba’s personality that strikes so many.
“Kobe was such an assassin, so cool under pressure. Cocky versus confidence, the guy just exuded confidence wherever he went,” Martinez says.
It’s why he was moved to buy Bryant’s shoes.
“We love excellence. That’s why, you know, I wore his shoes. I didn’t want to be a basketball player, I just wanted to be great,” Martinez says.
Tonight, these Texans are among thousands mourning his loss across the country.
“I checked Twitter and just dropped my phone,” Manzan says.
“You just hate to see it. You hate to see that for anybody, let alone somebody who was a legend. It’s just sad for him and all those other people on that helicopter to suffer that loss. My heart goes out to his family and those other families, as well. It’s just sad news,” Brown says.