The world is mourning the sudden and shocking loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died tragically in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning at the age of 41.
The five-time NBA champion, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers throughout his entire league career, was also a loving husband and devoted father to his four daughters, Natalia, Bianka, Gianna and Capri.
In news that only compounded this tragedy, the world learned that Bryant’s daughter, Gianna Bryant, 13, also died in the crash. Three other people aboard the aircraft—one of Gianna’s basketball teammates, their parent, and the pilot—have been confirmed dead. According to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the flight manifest shows that a total of nine people were scheduled to be on the helicopter. Additional deaths have not been confirmed.
Following in her father’s footsteps, Gianna, affectionately known as “GiGi” was a rising basketball star, and Bryant coached his daughter’s middle school basketball team. People reports that at the time of the crash, the two were on their way to her school, the Mamba Academy near Thousand Oaks, California, for basketball practice.
During his time playing for the Lakers and post-retirement, Bryant’s wife of 19 years, Vanessa Bryant, and daughters regularly joined him on the court. Bryant recently revealed that his daughter’s passion for the game is what brought him back to watching NBA and he very much enjoyed their time together courtside.
Our prayers go out to the Bryant family during this difficult time. Take a look back at the beautiful relationship Kobe and Gianna shared.