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Reports: NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna among 9 dead in helicopter crash

Updated: January 26, 2020 07:30 PM

ABC News has confirmed that former NBA MVP Kobe Bryant was among nine people killed in a helicopter crash Sunday morning over Calabasas, California. He was 41.

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Bryant's daughter Gianna, 13, was also among the victims on board, according to the Associated Press. Earlier reports stated there were five people on the aircraft, but the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office gave an update in a news conference that the manifest indicated there were nine people were on board, including the pilot. None of the occupants survived. 

Orange Coach College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa were also inside the helicopter at the time of the crash, the Altobelli family confirmed told the college.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter crashed due to "unknown circumstances." The City of Calabasas said in a statement the helicopter went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10 a.m. and that nobody on the ground was hurt.

Witnesses mountain biking in the area saw the helicopter in distress, Los Angeles Fire Capt. Tony Imbrenda told ABC News. It is unknown whether the pilot alerted over radio that the aircraft was in distress.

The helicopter was flying to an event at a basketball training complex owned by Bryant.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it is sending a team to investigate the crash.

Bryant won five NBA championships over his 20-year career, which he spent entirely with the Los Angeles Lakers. He also won two Olympic gold medals for the USA men's basketball team and made 18 trips to the NBA All-Star Game.

He retired in 2016 as the league's third all-time scorer with 33,643 points. Lakers forward Lebron James passed Bryant on that list Saturday night in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Bryant tweeted his congratulations.

RELATED: Sports world shaken by death of Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti honored Bryant in a statement:

“Kobe Bryant was a giant who inspired, amazed, and thrilled people everywhere with his incomparable skill on the court — and awed us with his intellect and humility as a father, husband, creative genius, and ambassador for the game he loved. He will live forever in the heart of Los Angeles, and will be remembered through the ages as one of our greatest heroes."

Bryant and his Lakers ended the longest playoff run in Timberwolves franchise history, beating the Wolves in the 2004 Western Conference Finals.

The Timberwolves released the following statement Sunday afternoon:

"The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx organization is deeply saddened by the passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and those affected in today’s tragedy. Few players have had the worldwide impact on the game of basketball that Kobe did. His immense presence was felt not only on the court, but off the court as a husband, father, mentor, and entrepreneur. The NBA and the world are in a better place because of Kobe and our thoughts and prayers go out to Kobe’s wife, Vanessa, their family, and the Lakers organization."

This is a developing news story, check back with KSTP for more details. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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