The sports world was suffering today, as tragedy struck the great state of California and the National Basketball Association.
On the East Coast, it was mid-afternoon by the time the news had become common knowledge: Kobe Bryant, star of the LA Lakers and NBA legend had died after a helicopter carrying himself, his teenage daughter, and several other people crashed.
Kobe Bryant, 41, the legendary basketball star who spent 20 years with the Lakers, was killed Sunday morning when the helicopter he was traveling in crashed amid foggy conditions and burst into flames in the hills above Calabasas.
His daughter Gianna, 13, was also on board, NBA authorities confirmed.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said nine people were on the copter — a pilot and eight passengers. He would not confirm who had died until all the next of kin have been notified, he said. The L.A. County coroner’s office said Sunday night that the recovery effort is expected to take several days because of the condition of the crash site and its remote location. Officials have shut down roads leading to the site because of a throng of visitors trying to get there.
The Grammy Awards, which took place in the Staples Center where the LA Lakers play, began with a somber tribute to Bryant by host Alicia Keys, and a number of artists performing and accepting awards added their own memories of Mamba as the night wore on.
The helicopter was operating in foggy conditions, which were severe enough to ground a number of other aircraft in the area.