Kobe Bryant Dead at 41: Celebrities and Athletes React

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Celebrities are mourning the loss of Kobe Bryant.

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."

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."

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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. A mentality that I would take with me throughout my whole career and still use every day. As the years went by, I watched you do things that seemed humanly unimaginable. And, through ups and downs, championships and injuries, you still remained with an unwavering resolve about your mentality to remain fierce to competition. But, every time we would speak or text, something started to change... your patience and ease grew. And it inspired me to continue to grow for myself. Years passed, and the “old man” jokes would start to be traded back and forth. We both appreciated a good “ribbing.” We joked about “The Vino Club.” You nicknamed yourself ‘Vino’ to represent how one could age gracefully as a fine wine does. But, you never stopped aiming to inspire me. Your confidence in me was huge - it really affected me because I admired you so much. I don’t mean as one of the greatest athletes ever. I mean as a person. People sometimes can confuse a will to win with a lack of compassion. That wasn’t you. You had both qualities. The last conversation that we shared was about being fathers and what that meant. That was, beyond all the things that we could do in this world, our true legacy. Who our children are and what beautiful people they will become. And, I guess right now, without being able to find all the words, THAT father connection is what is most devastating for me. I am sending my love to Vanessa and your family and to the families of everyone connected in the mourning of this terrible tragedy. My heart is broken and my family lifts you up in our thoughts and prayers. Kobe... You have connected so many of us. The Mamba Mentality will last for all of time. I know that will be a source for me every day as it has been for so many days before. Your legacy is with us. It’s our responsibility to pass it down now. I hope I can continue to make you proud, Vino. Champ, MVP, Legend, Hero, Inspiration, Father, Friend. I’m gonna miss you, brother. Mamba forever.

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Former NBA pro Allen Iverson also posted a statement to Instagram saying he was "devastated and heartbroken."

Dwyane Wade, one of Bryant's good friends and fellow NBA star, shared several tributes for the renowned athlete. 

"Nooooooooooo God please No!" he initially tweeted.

Wade also posted four times about his friend on Instagram. "Heroes come and go LEGENDS live forever‼️#8 #24," he captioned his first post.  

"RIP Kobe + GiGi ❤️? I know you said keep going but today we can’t. We love you and we’re gonna miss you brothe," the next message read. 

Sharing a photo of the two of them on the court, Wade Instagrammed: "Earning your respect meant everything. #mambamentality ❤️?"

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Heroes come and go LEGENDS live forever‼️#8 #24

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#8#24 Forever!

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Wade also teared up discussing Bryant on his Instagram Stories on Monday.

“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."

Meanwhile, Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, declared that his team will retire number 24 in honor of Bryant. 

"I hope we all remember that Kobe and Gianna have brought our country closer together than anyone has in a generation. Their memory truly is a blessing that we should build on," he tweeted.

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."

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!"

 

O'Neal ex-wife, Shaunie O'Neal, posted a photo on her Instagram Stories showing Bryant watching a basketball game with Gianna just one day before they died.

"Yesterday,” she wrote on the post, alongside the hashtags #longliveGigi and #longliveKobe.

Meanwhile, Tristan Thompson wrote: "I hope this isn’t true man!!! Not Kobe."

Khloe Kardashian also tweeted, writing, "This can’t be real ???? there’s no way!!! My heart hurts"

"It can't be," Justin Bieber captioned a photo of himself with Bryant. "You always encouraged me mamba. Gave me me some of the best quotes that we smile about to this day.! Love you man!"

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"

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’m stunned. Words can’t even come close to describing it," Scottie Pippen wrote. "Just an incredibly sad and tragic day."

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"

Reese Witherspoon wrote that she was "just devastated" to hear the news.

"An extraordinary athlete, and a genuinely kind, wonderful man," she tweeted. "Sending love, prayers & compassion to his family. To his entire @NBA family as well."

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."

Here are more reactions to the shocking news:

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Kobe. You were such a wonderful friend. Always positive and thoughtful and supportive and reliable and so, so bright. One of the brightest souls I've ever seen and I am absolutely devastated by this. ⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ ⁣ We were supposed to get together this week to brainstorm more parts of the epic world you were creating at Granity Studios. You were creating a whole big world from scratch- everything from the continents to the oceans and rivers to the trees and even the leaves on the trees.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ The last time we talked, I told you my idea about what the night sky would be made of. I was inspired by friends of mine who lost their 4-year-old daughter to cancer. When explaining to their younger daughter what happened, instead of saying that her sister had died, they would tell her that "Billie turned into a star." To this day, if you ask her where her sister is, she'll say "Billie étoile." ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ We wanted to help kids be less afraid of death and tell stories of all the little and big stars.... And now you're one of them. 😞⭐️⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Sending all of my love to Vanessa and your daughters. ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Rest in love my friend. I'll look for you in the sky. 🌟💫

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Family. As I scrolled through Kobe’s feed, and Alex and I talk memories and moments we remember about him ... this is the truth that rings out the loudest ... family is what matters most. We are all feeling sadness from this loss, but all I can think of is that it is a grain of sand compared to what Vanessa must going through right now. I am sending all of my love and praying for you, your children and the other families involved in today’s tragic turn of events. The most unfair thing in life is to lose a child and husband on the same day. Vanessa, I pray for your strength and that God guides you each step of the way through this unimaginable heartbreak. To the other families who are suffering from this unthinkable tragedy, may God be with you all. Kobe you meant so much to so many and we will miss you forever. Thank you for your work ethic, your inspiration and your heart. #hero #legend #husband #father 😢🙏🏼💔

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Rest In Peace 🙏🏼

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💔

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Love is forever.

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This life will never be the same

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😤😔🥺 it can’t be

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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.

 

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