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Basketball legend ‘black Mamba’ Kobe Bryant Killed in helicopter crash

“Nobody survived,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told media saying the flight manifest showed nine people on board

New Delhi: On Sunday USA’s Kobe Bryant, one of the NBA’s all-time greatest players whose international stardom transcended basketball was killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others on board, officials said.

Kobe Bryant played 20 years for the Los Angeles Lakers – 18 of them as an all-star – winning five NBA championships. On his death, many got shockwaves through the National Basketball Association, which he helped propel to world prominence, and stunned fans globally.

The cause of the helicopter crash is still not known, and an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board could take months.

Bryant was famous since his playing days to travel frequently by helicopter to avoid the Los Angeles area’s notorious traffic.

His chopper went down in foggy weather shortly before 10 a.m. (1800 GMT) in hilly terrain just outside Calabasas, California, about 40 miles (65 km) northwest of central Los Angeles, sparking a fire, officials said.

“Nobody survived,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told media saying the flight manifest showed nine people on board. He declined to recognize them.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver confirmed Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among those killed and sent condolences to Bryant’s wife, Vanessa.

“Bryant was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary,” Silver said, as tributes poured in from sports stars, politicians, and entertainers.

The debris was spread near-crash area over a quarter-acre of steep terrain in the grass-covered foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said.

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