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Officials: 9 victims, including Kobe Bryant, daughter, killed in helicopter crash

CNN


CALABASAS, CALIFORNIAUpdate:

The LA Sheriff’s Department says the pilot and eight others died as a result of the helicopter crash in California.

Although several outlets have reported that Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were victims of the crash, the sheriff’s office would not confirm the victim’s identities.

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said it was “wholly inappropriate” to identify the victims before next of kin were notified.

Previous reports indicated there were only five victims of the crash, but Villanueva said that number was raised to nine.

According to CBS News, the other victims have been identified as John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli and their daughter Alyssa Altobelli; Christina Mauser; Sarah Chester and daughter Payton Chester; and the pilot Ara Zobayan.

The LA Fire Department reported a “stubborn” brush fire broke out as a result of the crash.

Debris of the crash, steep terrain and magnesium made it difficult for firefighters to extinguish the flames, per fire officials.

The investigation is still ongoing. We’ll bring more updates as they become available.

Original:

CNN - Basketball legend Kobe Bryant, 41, died Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, sources confirm to CNN.

Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria Onore Bryant was also killed, a source with knowledge of the situation tells CNN.

Five people were killed in the crash on a hillside in Calabasas, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. There were no survivors, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said. The sheriff's department received reports of the downed aircraft just after 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m PT), officials said in a tweet.

Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Tony Imbrenda said he didn't immediately have any information about whether the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter radioed a distress signal.

"Individuals that saw the aircraft said it was coming down at a fairly significant rate of speed and impacted the ground on the hillside," he told reporters.

Imbrenda said he didn't know where the helicopter came from or where it was headed.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Tranportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, the FAA said in a tweet.

Pictures taken shortly after the crash showed fog in the area. Sunday morning's weather also included light wind and temperatures in the mid-50s.

Calabasas is about 30 miles west of Los Angeles.

A heralded career

Bryant's death comes a day after LeBron James passed him as No. 3 on the NBA all-time scoring list when he scored 33,643 points.

"Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother," Bryant tweeted Saturday night.

Born in Philadelphia, Bryant was drafted to the NBA straight out of Lower Merion High School near Philadelphia in 1996. He was the youngest player in NBA history at that time, at 18 years, 2 months and 11 days.

Bryant played his entire professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers and won five NBA championships.

Bryant has two Olympic gold medals for men's basketball.

Bryant retired in April 2016.

The nation mourns Bryant’s death.

Everyone from current and former NBA players to the mayor of Los Angeles mourned Bryant.

"Nooooooooooo God please No!" retired NBA player Dwyane Wade tweeted at the news.

Former NBA player Scottie Pippen tweeted: "I'm stunned. Words can't even come close to describing it. Just an incredibly sad and tragic day."

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called Bryant 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."

President Donald Trump tweeted about Bryant’s death in the crash, “That is terrible news!”

Several NBA players also took to Twitter after Bryant’s death was announced.