Former Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, an 18-time All-Star who won five NBA titles throughout an illustrious basketball career, died in a helicopter crash on Sunday outside Los Angeles, according to multiple reports. He was 41. TMZ first reported the news, which was confirmed by The Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press and other news outlets.
Officials said that Bryant was a passenger aboard a helicopter that crashed in the Los Angeles County suburb of Calabasas. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office said all five people aboard the helicopter died. A watch commander for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told the Times that the helicopter Bryant was traveling in crashed and immediately burst into flames at around 10 a.m. PT. The bushfire the crash ignited made it difficult for emergency personnel to access the aircraft.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the helicopter, an S-76, crashed under “unknown circumstances.” The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident, the agency said.