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‘Still Can’t Believe’: Fans & Friends Mourn Loss of Kobe Bryant

Usain Bolt was one of the first people to tweet. He wrote “still can’t believe” and shared a picture of Bryant.

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NBA legend Kobe Bryant died in helicopter crash in California on Sunday, 26 January.

Bryant, along with four other people were traveling in his private helicopter over Calabasas when a fire broke out, which led to the chopper spiraling down from the sky. The crash occurred around 10 am local time. Due to a brush fire on impact, initial rescue efforts were hampered.

There were no survivors, and the cause of the crash is yet to be known, along with the victims who are to be named.

Tributes started pouring in for basketball icon, who has 41-year-old during the time of his death.

Usain Bolt was one of the first people to tweet. He wrote "still can't believe" and shared a picture of himself with the former LA Lakers star.

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The President of United States of America, Donald Trump also took to Twitter to mourn the ‘terrible news’. Trump tweeted,” Reports are that basketball great Kobe Bryant and three others have been killed in a helicopter crash in California. That is terrible news!”

Former US President Barrack Obama also tweeted out a heart-felt message in the the memory of Bryant.

“Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day,” said Obama.

In San Antonio, the Spurs and Toronto Raptors both committed 24-second shot-clock violations on their opening possessions in honor of Bryant -- who wore No. 24 in the later stages of his career.

"The NBA family is devastated," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. "For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning.

"He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game." Six-time NBA champion said Bryant would be remembered as one of the game's greatest.

“Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling.”
Michael Jordan

"I loved Kobe - he was like a little brother to me." That sentiment was echoed by Shaquille O'Neal -- who won three NBA titles and also famously feuded with Bryant in Los Angeles.

The basketball and NBA community also mourned the unfortunate passing away of the ‘Mamba’ - as he was fondly called.

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After scoring a penalty against Lille, Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar held up two fingers on his right hand and four fingers on his left to make Bryant's famed No. 24 jersey for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Cristiano Ronaldo tweeted: “So sad to hear the heartbreaking news of the deaths of Kobe and his daughter Gianna. Kobe was a true legend and inspiration to so many. Sending my condolences to his family and friends and the families of all who lost their lives in the crash. RIP Legend.”

Apart from Neymar and Ronaldo, US footballer & World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe also paid tribute."Heart going out to the Bryant family right now. RIP Kobe Bryant,” Rapinoe tweeted.

Other footballer paid their tribute include Didier Drogba, Andrea Pirlo, Tim Cahlll, Gary Linekar and Rahim Sterling.

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Tennis star Novak Djokovic took to Twitter and wrote: "My heart truly mourns over the news today. Kobe was a great mentor and friend to me. You and your daughter will live forever in our hearts. There are not enough words to express my deepest sympathies to the Bryants and every family suffering from this tragedy. RIP my friend."

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal tweeted: "I woke up this morning with the horrible news of the tragic death of one of the greatest sportsmen in the world. Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and other passengers. My condolences to his wife and families. I am in shock."

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The cricket community joined the rest of the world in mourning NBA legend Kobe Bryant's tragic death with India captain Virat Kohli and legendary Vivian Richards offering their condolences.

Absolutely devastated to hear this news today. So many childhood memories of waking up early and watching this magician doing things on the court that I would be mesmerised by. Life is so unpredictable and fickle. His daughter Gianna passed away too in the crash. I am absolutely Heartbroken. Rest in peace. Strength and condolences to the family," Kohli wrote on his instagram page.

Richards on his part said: "A true legend of the sporting world! Rest In Peace dear Kobe and his daughter. May the family have immense strength to overcome this sad time."

Australian spin great Shane Warne was "stunned" by the tragedy. "Like everyone, I'm stunned, shocked and saddened to hear the horrific news about Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter who died in a helicopter crash. Thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this extremely sad time!"

Others who expressed their grief included Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene.

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Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio also tweeted: “Kobe was truly larger than life, a legend. May he and all those who lost their lives today rest in peace. Love and condolences to his family. LA will never be the same. “

In an Instagram post, Justin Bieber also paid tribute to Bryant. He 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 with the iconic basketball star smiling together.

Acclaimed Hollywood director M Night Shyamalan also took to Twitter to mourn the unfortunate news. “Shocked and saddened to hear about Kobe Bryant. To us in Philly he was one of ours. His loss will be felt throughout the city. #ripkobe,” the director tweeted.

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Days before his untimely death, Bryant congratulated current Laker LeBron James for passing him for third place on the league’s all-time scoring list.

“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames,” wrote Bryant on Saturday night in what would prove to be his final tweet. “Much respect my brother.”

Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers for two decades. He won five championships and made 18 All-Star Games before calling it a day in 2016.

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