The United States' double Olympic basketball gold medallist Kobe Bryant died today in a fatal California helicopter crash that killed eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter.
According to TMZ Sports, the 41-year-old retired National Basketball Association (NBA) legend was travelling in a private helicopter before it went down in Calabasas, California.
The Los Angeles County Sheriffs Office confirmed that nine people died, leaving no survivors, and that an investigation is ongoing.
The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed into a hillside around 10am local time and caught fire.
Bryant's teenage daughter Gianna was among the other victims.
Bryant played for 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers and won five NBA championships.
He is considered one of the best basketball players of all time, and was part of the US team that won Olympic gold medals at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
At Beijing 2008, Bryant scored 20 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, along with six assists as the US defeated Spain 118–107 in the final.
Bryant did not play at Athens 2004 due to an allegation of sexual assault - while he was never convicted, he did issue a public apology to the victim after the case was dismissed.
He was also a member of the US team that won the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Americas Championship in 2007.
Bryant retired in 2016 from a career that saw him score 33,643 points, ranking third in NBA history from the time he retired until LeBron James passed him on the scoring list last night.
He was the first guard in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons and was the first and only player in Lakers history to have both of his jersey numbers - 8 and 24 - retired.
Following his retirement, Bryant maintained his link with the Olympics by promoting Los Angeles' successful bid for the 2028 Games.
He was a member of Los Angeles' Board of Directors and Athletes’ Advisory Board, appeared in two promotional films and attended a star-studded dinner during the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Evaluation Committee visit to the US city.
During the event he helped promote Los Angeles' bid by speaking to Patrick Baumann, the general secretary of FIBA leading the IOC Evaluation Commission.
Baumann died unexpectedly in October 2018.
He also was the last personality to appear on a pre-recorded video shown to the IOC during an Extraordinary Session in Lausanne in 2017 where it was agreed that Paris would be awarded the 2024 Olympics and Los Angeles 2028.
"There are so many different cultures represented here, so many different ethnicities represented here. L.A. can be anything you want it to be," Bryant said in the video.
"To have the Olympics here and to have so many different cultures represented would be a beautiful story to tell."
His retirement also included winning an Oscar for his short film Dear Basketball in 2018.
Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa and their three other daughters - Natalia, Bianca and newborn Capri.