By Servet Gunerigok
WASHINGTON (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump offered his condolences to the family of basketball star Kobe Bryant, who was killed Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
"Kobe Bryant, despite being one of the truly great basketball players of all time, was just getting started in life. He loved his family so much and had such strong passion for the future," Trump said on Twitter.
The helicopter crashed in foggy conditions and then caught fire.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the crash left nine people dead, including Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna and Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli. Bryant was 41.
"The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating. Melania and I send our warmest condolences to Vanessa and the wonderful Bryant family. May God be with you all!" said Trump, referring to Bryant's wife.
Upon hearing the tragic news, Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan said: "Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling. I loved Kobe — he was like a little brother to me."
NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement saying that the NBA family is devastated.
Kobe's former teammate Shaquille O'Neal, with whom he won three back-to-back championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002, also took to Instagram.
"There are no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you brother and you will be missed. My condolences go out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW !"