The former NBA player died in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday, ET confirms. He was 41. Nobody on the flight survived. His wife, Vanessa Laine Bryant, was not on board.
Bryant's daughter, Gianna (whom Bryant and his wife called GiGi), was on board and died in the accident as well, ET confirms. She was 13.
After news broke, celebrities and athletes took to social media to express their grief.
Lady Gaga tweeted: "Thinking of Kobe Bryant and his family. I’m praying for their healing and the reincarnation of their joy. Such a tremendous tragedy, but we can send them thoughts of unimaginable hope."
Thinking of Kobe Bryant and his family. I’m praying for their healing and the reincarnation of their joy. Such a tremendous tragedy, but we can send them thoughts of unimaginable hope.
Justin Timberlake was a longtime friend of the athlete and posted a lengthy message to Instagram along with a series of photos.
"We met when we were both teenagers and bonded over our drive and process. I was in awe of what you could do with a basketball and knew your talent went beyond your physical gifts and stretched to your mentality," the singer wrote in part. "...I hope you I can continue to make you proud, Vino. Champ, MVP, Legend, Hero, Inspiration, Father, Friend. I’m gonna miss you, brother. Mamba forever."
“Today is one of the saddest days in my lifetime,” he said, getting emotional. “It seems like a bad dream you just want to wake up from. A nightmare.”
Wade's wife, Gabrielle Union also took to Instagram to express her grief. "Yesterday watching my husband & the kids in stunned silence, just staring at them, all of us thinking about @vanessabryant & her children and the families that lost pieces of their heart in an instant yesterday. Please remember that as life moves on for everyone else, the grief these families are experiencing just started," she wrote. "Please don't forget about them. Please don't forget about all the ppl who are suffering and frozen as life around them goes on. We love you. We are praying for you, for all of us struggling with unimaginable challenges we dont speak of."
Taylor Swift, who brought Bryant on stage during her 1989 World Tour, wrote that her "heart is in pieces hearing the news of this unimaginable tragedy."
"I can’t fathom what the families are going through," she wrote. "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."
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.
Shaquille O'Neal, who played in the NBA with Bryant, shared photos of himself with his late friend on Instagram.
"There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of loosing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie," he wrote. "I love you brother and you will be missed."
"My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board," he added. "IM SICK RIGHT NOW!"
Jimmy Kimmel took to Twitter to share a lengthy message about Bryant as a loving father.
"He was great,charismatic & among the hardest-working athletes ever,but what impressed me most was how deeply-involved Kobe was with his 4 daughters," Kimmel wrote. "Pray for them, Vanessa, his parents & his fellow passengers' families on this sad and shocking day. We will never forget you Kobe"
He was great,charismatic & among the hardest-working athletes ever,but what impressed me most was how deeply-involved Kobe was with his 4 daughters. Pray for them, Vanessa, his parents & his fellow passengers' families on this sad and shocking day. We will never forget you Kobe
Demi Lovato mourned the loss on Instagram, sharing a photo of herself with the sports legend.
"This makes me so sad," she captioned the pic. "Kobe you were always so sweet to me. Known you over 10 years.. not super well but we always joked about you coming over and playing that game of horse! You will [be] so missed by so many. You’re a legend with wings now. RIP Kobe ???"
I remember when Kobe first got into the league. I told MJ during a workout, "This kid plays like you, talks like you, walks like you, he even sticks his tongue out like you. He's going to be special." pic.twitter.com/E5aVR21s71
Chrissy Teigen tweeted, "I cannot believe this is real. My god. Oh my god."
"Downtown right now and nothing feels more unimportant than what we are doing today," she added of the GRAMMY Awards in a second tweet. "This is absolutely terrible. Everyone is numb."
Teigen's husband, John Legend, also tweeted about Bryant's death.
"I'm so sad and stunned right now. In Staples Arena, where Kobe created so many memories for all of us, preparing to pay tribute to another brilliant man we lost too soon, Nipsey Hussle," he wrote. "Life can be so brutal and senseless sometimes. Hold on to your loved ones. We miss you, Kobe"
I'm so sad and stunned right now. In Staples Arena, where Kobe created so many memories for all of us, preparing to pay tribute to another brilliant man we lost too soon, Nipsey Hussle. Life can be so brutal and senseless sometimes. Hold on to your loved ones. We miss you, Kobe
Meanwhile, baseball Hall of Famer, Willie Mays, shared his heartache at the loss, which was heightened by his own experience losing a loved one in an aircraft crash.
“Kobe Bryant is gone and news of his passing hit me hard," Mays wrote. "We knew each other, but we didn’t know each other. We knew each other well enough to share a word or two in passing. We also shared the number '24.' It was more of a mutual respect that drew us together. I loved watching that man play basketball. He was too young to have seen me play, but he knew about me. A word or two, a nod, a wink; between us, such small things, but they signified so much more.
“When I was a youngster, my uncle Edgar died when his small Air Force aircraft crashed into a mountain on a foggy day," he continued. "I was stunned by his death and hearing of what happened to Kobe, his daughter and their friends struck me the same way. I stood there listening, helpless, unbelieving, stunned. How could this have happened? I have no more answers now than I did as a kid. The news with shocking and confusing. It is all so frightening and so very sad. What I do know is that we are given so many gifts in life. Times like these make you take notice. They give rise to gratitude. What joy Kobe Bryant brought to so many! What a gift to have known him, even just a little."
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.
Eric took this photo right after the accident happened where Kobe, his daughter, and other beautiful souls were lifted up to be with God for eternity. I felt the power in the sky of the heavens parting to make room for the greatest of angels to rise. My heart is completely broken pic.twitter.com/GtDXjAEfYi
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. pic.twitter.com/U3osyw6Pzu
Steve Kerr thinks Kobe’s death may have been the saddest day in NBA history. Other tragic events that come to his mind: Magic announces he has HIV, Drazen Petrovic dies in car crash. pic.twitter.com/YM3TMc9mEQ
MC Hammer also spoke out, telling popculture.com, "It speaks volumes to what he represented and if the world coming closer together is one of the blessings that comes from this then God also bless his soul for that."
Bryant is survived by his wife and their three other children: Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.