Updated 1/26/19, 6:10 p.m. ET: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva confirmed to the L.A. Times that there were nine people on the aircraft—a pilot and eight passengers, and he wouldn’t confirm who had died in the crash until the next-of-kin were notified.
Update: 1/26/19, 4:42 p.m. ET: Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also killed in the crash. TMZ first reported his daughter’s death and it was later confirmed by other media outlets, including CNN and NBC.
David Shapiro, a former mayor of Calabasas and currently a city councilman, confirmed to NBC News that Bryant was on the helicopter.
Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna was also on the helicopter, according to Shapiro. The two were on board with another parent and child who were not identified.
Gianna, who was called Gigi, was on board the helicopter as the two were on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy near Thousand Oaks, Calif., for basketball practice when the crash occurred, according to TMZ.
She was reportedly following in her father’s footsteps of becoming a professional basketball player.
Bryant coached his daughter’s middle school basketball team after retiring from professional basketball with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016.
In December 2018, Bryant partnered with Sports Academy to rebrand the 100,000 square foot venue to the Mamba Sports Academy to “provide effective, safe and transparent overall human performance training to develop athletes to the peak of their potential.”
The crash occurred shortly before 10 a.m. near Las Virgenes Road, south of Agoura Road, near Malibu, Calif., according to a watch commander for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The department said a call for a downed helicopter in Calabasas went out at 10:01 a.m. local time by people who were out biking in the area reporting the accident, which created a small brush fire after slamming into a hillside.
The chopper—identified as a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter by Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Tony Imbrenda—took off from Orange County, where Bryant lived, sources told the Times.
According to the Weather Channel, low clouds and fog were present in the area at the time of the crash but it was not immediately clear whether the weather played a role in the crash.
In a 2010 interview with GQ magazine, Bryant said that he would regularly take a private helicopter from his Orange County home to every home game he played at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Kobe Bryant has reportedly died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., on Sunday morning.
According to TMZ, the former L.A. Lakers superstar was traveling with at least three other people in a private helicopter when it went down. Emergency personnel responded, but nobody on board survived.
The celebrity gossip outlet reported that five people are confirmed dead, but Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, was not among those on board.
Officials confirmed to Variety that Bryant was a passenger onboard a helicopter that crashed in the Los Angeles County suburb of Calabasas.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.