Basketball legend Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash in California, according to reports by US media.
He was 41.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the crash occurred shortly before 10 am local time in foggy conditions in the hills above Calabasas.
A fire broke out and emergency personnel responded but found no survivors, according to TMZ.
TMZ reported that eyewitnesses to the crash heard the helicopter sputtering before it went down.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
After high school, Bryant was the 13th overall pick of the 1996 draft, selected by Charlotte, which traded his rights to the Lakers in exchange for center Vlade Divac. He spent the next 20 seasons in Los Angeles before retiring following 2015-16 season.
Bryant won five NBA championships for the Lakers and amassed a number of accolades. He was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2007-08, a 15-time All-NBA selection, 18-time All-Star and 12-time All-Defensive team member. He twice was named the MVP of the NBA Finals and was the All-Star Game MVP four times.
Bryant played in 1,346 career games and retired as the third-leading scorer in NBA history with 33,643 points. On Saturday night, Lakers star LeBron James passed him on the all-time list when he scored 29 points against the Philadelphia 76ers. Bryant stands behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and James on the all-time list.
He won Olympic gold medals for the United States in 2008 and 2012 and among the candidates this year for induction into the Naismith Baskeball Hall of Fame.
The Kaniva Tonga News has a content sharing arrangement with RNZ