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NBA star Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash

The basketballer's daughter was among those killed

NEW YORK, January 26. /TASS/. NBA legend and holder of two Olympic titles Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, TMZ news said on Sunday.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were travelling in his private helicopter when it nose-dived, killing nine in the ensuing crash.

US President Donald Trump expressed his condolences over the tragedy. "Reports are that basketball great Kobe Bryant and three others have been killed in a helicopter crash in California. That is terrible news!" he tweeted.

He clinched five NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers and two Olympic gold medals playing for the United States (2008 and 2012). Bryant ranks fourth on the NBA’s All-Time Scoring List, with 33,643 points. He wrapped up his career in 2016.

In 2018, he won an Academy Award for best-animated short film for ‘Dear Basketball.’

The Russian national football team also offered their condolences. "We grieve with all world. Rest in peace, Kobe Bryant..." the tweet reads.

Three-time NBA champion LeBron James, who is currently playing with the Los Angeles Lakers, could not hold tears at the news that reached him at the airport. Just on the eve of the tragedy, Kobe congratulated James on edging him on the List of National Basketball Association annual scoring leaders in what turned out to be his last Tweet. 

Juventus' forward and the Portugal national team captain Cristiano Ronaldo is also in mourning. 

Alexander Ovechkin about Kobe Bryant

Russian professional ice hockey winger and captain of the Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin has described Kobe Bryant as a legend in the basketball world and the whole world, Samantha Pell, a Washington Post reporter, published his comment on her Twitter page.

"It's tough you know, because I know him," Ovechkin said. "He always treat me well when he saw me. You know, it's hard. He was a legend in the basketball world and the whole world, and it is tough. Still can't believe it." "As an athlete you want to meet one of the greatest you know? And he was the best," he added.

The Russian specified that he personally met Bryant three or four times, recalling one particular moment. "He always shake my hand, he knows who I am. I remember when I was in the stands eating hot dogs and he was like pointing to me and I was like, ‘holy,’ but it is hard. It's hard," he recalled.

Maria Sharapova grateful to Kobe Bryant for time set aside in tough times

Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova has shared her gratitude to deceased Kobe Bryant for time he gave her in tough moments of her life, the five-time Grand Slam champion said via Twitter.

"Kobe and Gigi. This is incredibly difficult to process. I will never forget your generosity, and the time you set aside in some of my most difficult moments. I am forever grateful. My heart is with you and your beautiful family," she wrote.