Kobe Bryant, the former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star, was killed Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas.
The 41-year-old was on his way to coach his daughter’s basketball tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks when the crash occurred. Bryant was an investor in the academy.
Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was killed in the crash as were seven other people.
Bryant played for the Lakers for 20 years before retiring in 2016 and his death sent shockwaves around the world and not just among fans of the NBA.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called Bryant “a giant” who inspired, amazed and thrilled people everywhere with his incomparable skill on the court.
“He will live forever in the heart of Los Angeles and will be remembered through the ages as one of our greatest heroes,” Garcetti said in a statement. “This is a moment that leaves us struggling to find words that express the magnitude of shock and sorrow we are all feeling right now, and I am keeping Kobe’s entire family in my prayers at this time of unimaginable grief.”
In 2016, Bryant formed Bryant Stibel, a $100 million investment fund he ran with startup veteran Jeff Stibel. Prior to that, Bryant and Stibel had invested in tech startups, including LegalZoom in Glendale.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash of the of the Skikorsky S-76E helicopter that happened just before 10 a.m. in a hilly area near Las Virgenes Road and Willow Glen Street, south of the 101 freeway.
Also killed in the crash were John Altobelli, a baseball coach at Orange Coast College; his wife Keri; and daughter Alyssa, who played on the same basketball team as Gianna Bryant; Christina Mauser, an assistant coach of the Mamba girls’ basketball team; the helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan; and Orange County mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester, also a teammate of Gianna Bryant.