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Belize and world mourn loss of basketball icon Kobe Bryant, and daughter killed in tragic crash

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Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2020. 4:18 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Fans of basketball and Kobe Bryant around the world are mourning the shocking and sudden news of his death along with his 13-year-old daughter and several others in a helicopter accident that occurred around 10:00 a.m. local time in Calabasas, California.

According to media reports, the Laker legend, his daughter Gianna, and three others including the pilot were traveling in Bryant’s private Sikorsky S-76 helicopter when it crashed, killing everyone on board. Officials from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department responded to reports of the crash. Witnesses reported hearing the helicopter’s engine sputtering before it went down.

A flight plan indicates that the helicopter took off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County at 9:06 a.m. and the aircraft’s last signal was received at 9:45 a.m. local time. According to sources, Bryant and his daughter were headed to his Mamba Academy for basketball in Thousand Oaks, California for practice.

Bryant was known to travel by helicopter for years. Kobe and Gianna are survived by his wife Vanessa and their three daughters – Natalia, Bianca and Capri, who was born last summer. The news has sent shock-waves through the sports world and beyond, as Bryant was an inspiration for and favorite of many around the world.

The decorated NBA athlete was a first-round pick in the 1996 NBA draft and spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, earning 5 championships, two finals MVPs, and 18 All-Star titles before retiring in 2016 with one of the most iconic final performances by any athlete in professional sports. Following his retirment, both his jersey number – 8 and 24 – were retired in Staples Center. Unfortunately, Kobe will never get the opportunity to make a speech for his imminent induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

In Belize, where the Lakers have a large fan-base dating back to the 80s, there has been an outpouring of social media posts about Bryant’s shocking death. Former PUP Leader, Francis Fonseca posted to his page: “I love basketball! I love Kobe! Devastating news!”

BBN joins the rest of Kobe fans around the world in mourning the loss of the legend, his daughter and the others who died in the tragic crash while offering deep condolences to his family. Tearfully, #MambaOut.

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