Kobe Bryant: Former US President Obama, Ronaldo, Messi, Others Pay Tributes
Former US president Barack Obama has paid tribute to Kobe Bryant after the NBA legend and his daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday.
Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were two of the nine passengers who died on board the helicopter which crashed outside the city of Calabasas, which is situated to the west of Los Angeles, at around 10 am on Sunday morning.
Bryant had visited Obama at the White House with his LA Lakers teammates in January 2010 after the team became NBA champions.
Obama posted on Twitter, ‘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.’
Messi posted on Instagram: ‘I have no words… all my love for Kobe’s family and friends. ‘It was a pleasure to meet you and share good times together. ‘You were a genius like few others.’
Ronaldo also posted his tribute following the news: ‘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.’
Hollywood’s elite have also flocked online in their hundreds to commemorate Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, as the news of the legendary star’s death broke, Khloe Kardashian was one of the first struggling to believe the news as she said: ‘This can’t be real. There’s no way!!! My heart hurts.’
Her mother, Kris Jenner, added: ‘Devastated by the news of losing our precious Kobe Bryant. Words cannot express our sadness. All my deepest love and prayers are with Vanessa and Kobe’s family at this time.’
Cher was also sending love to both his family, friends and those who were saddened by the loss, as she wrote: “My heart goes out to Kobe’s Family, Friends, Fans. ‘It’s so hard to deal with the death of a great star because we feel as if we knew them personally. Kobe Bryant was a great athlete, & all of America will feel his loss. The world has lost a bright light”.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who host the Oscar, also commemorated the star, who won an Oscar in 2018 for his animated short for Dear Basketball. ‘They doubted a kid could make it in the NBA and he proved them wrong,’ they wrote. ‘They doubted he could win a championship and he proved them wrong. They doubted he could make movies and he won an Oscar. Like all great artists, Kobe Bryant proved the doubters wrong. Rest in peace.’
Actress Ayesha Curry, the wife of basketballer Steph Curry, wrote: ‘Dear Lord, please cover Vanessa and her family. Sending infinite prayers. My heart aches for her and the girls. I’ve written and deleted 100 times today. ‘I have no words and they’re never going to come out the way I want them to. Praying for peace and protection over this family and other families involved. Rest In Peace and power, Gigi and Kobe.’
Taylor Swift added: ‘My heart is in pieces hearing the news of this unimaginable tragedy. I can’t fathom what the families are going through. ‘Kobe meant so much to me and to us all. Sending my prayers, love, and endless condolences to Vanessa and the family and anyone who lost someone on that flight.’
Naomi Campbell was also among those devastated by the loss as she wrote: ‘Heartbreaking Waking up this morning to hear that you and one of your Angels are gone is devastating for us all beyond any words. My deepest condolences to the beautiful Bryant family. ‘May you Rise with the highest, and May your soul Rest in Power King.’
Kim Kardashian wrote a lengthy post remembering both Kobe and Gigi and said: ‘My heart is so heavy. No one should ever experience what the families involved are going through. ‘This has affected us all so much but I cannot begin to imagine what Vanessa is feeling losing her husband and her baby girl. I cry just thinking about it. I am praying for the Bryant family, the Altobelli family and the families of all who perished in this unthinkable tragedy. Rest In Peace Legend’
Husband Kanye West shared a photo of him with Kobe in the recording studio, adding: ‘Kobe, We love you brother, We’re praying for your family and appreciate the life you’ve lived and all the inspiration you gave’
On hearing the news Cheryl wrote: ‘Oh my good God no. How utterly heart shattering. I can’t stop thinking about his wife and children. Thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones at this devastating time.’
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Bryant one of the most extraordinary players in NBA history.
“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning.”
NBA legend Michael Jordan recognized Bryant for his talent and skill, but also praised his competitive streak, calling him one of the game’s greats.
“I loved Kobe – he was like a little brother to me,” Jordan said.
The LA Lakers legend was confirmed dead by the LA County Sheriff’s department – with three others currently being named. Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, his daughter Alyssa Altobelli and wife Keri Altobelli were also on board the helicopter.
‘There were no survivors, we have a manifest that indicates there were nine people on the aircraft – the pilot plus eight individuals,’ said L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Kobe, 41, was married to wife Vanessa since 2001, and they had four daughters – Gianna, aka Gigi, and then Natalia, 17, and Bianka, 3 and Capri, who was born last June.
The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.
Kobe Bryant spent his entire 20-year career with the LA Lakers and is widely regarded as one of the most successful basketball players of all time having won five NBA championships during his 20-year career with LA Lakers, appeared in 18 All-Star games and scoring 33,643 points before retiring in 2016.
He was also named NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008 and the MVP in two NBA Finals. Bryant also won two gold medals for the USA at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
Culled from NBC Los Angeles, Metro News UK.