Tributes are pouring in for basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who has been killed in a helicopter crash at the age of 41.
Four other people were travelling in his private helicopter when it came down in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning.
Usain Bolt said he “still can’t believe” the news and shared a picture of himself with the LA Lakers superstar.
Comedian Kevin Hart wrote: “This honestly doesn’t make sense….I just saw you man. This hurts my heart.”
Actress Whoopi Goldberg said the star was a “hero to many including my grandson, extraordinary athlete and always kind to me & my family.”
In an Instagram post, Justin Bieber wrote: “You always encouraged me mamba. Gave me me some of the best quotes that we smile about to this day.”
He also shared an old photograph of the pair smiling together.
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US gymnast Simone Biles also posted a photo of herself with the NBA star and other members of the American gymnastics team.
Singer Demi Lovato wrote on Instagram: “Kobe you were always so sweet to me. Known you over 10 years.. not super well but we always joked about you coming over and playing that game of horse!”
Bryant was an 18-time All Star and named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008.
When he announced his plans to retire in 2015, he was described by NBA commissioner Adam Silver as “one of the greatest players in the history of our game”.
Earlier on Sunday, the NBA Twitter account shared footage of Bryant and fellow NBA star LeBron James, who had surpassed Bryant to become the league’s third-highest scorer of all time.
Current and former NBA stars have also shared tributes to the legend.
NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird said: “Kobe was not only an icon in the sports arena, he was a man of the world and touched so many lives and communities in the most positive ways.
“His star was continuing to rise every day and he knew no limits because of his many intellectual and creative talents and desire to give back to others – his passion for the game, for his family and for others was apparent in everything he accomplished.”
Pau Gasol, who won two of his titles with Bryant, said: “Beyond devastated… my big brother… I can’t, I just can’t believe it.”
Five-time NBA Most Valuable Player Bill Russell wrote: “I’m at a loss for words. @kobebryant was a long-time friend, an inspiration and we shared our first ever commercial @espn together as professionals. I love you forever. #RIPMAMBA”
The Orlando Magic is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Kobe Bryant. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Bryant family, the L.A. Lakers and the other victims of today’s tragedy and their families.We will observe a moment of silence before tonight’s game.#RIPMAMBA pic.twitter.com/VwMzx4AKy5
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) January 26, 2020
The Orlando Magic, who are facing the Los Angeles Clippers tonight, said they would hold a moment of silence before the game in honour of Bryant.
During the game between San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors, the players paid a fitting tribute to the star.
Source : Sky News