'There [are] no words to express the pain I’m going through now.'
The duo played together on the Los Angeles Lakers from 1996 to 2004. They won three consecutive NBA Championships (2000, 2001, 2002) and made an NBA Finals appearance in 2004.
"There [are] 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," O'Neal captioned a series of photos of him and Bryant. "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!"
In another post, Shaq posted about what a good man Bryant was on and off the court. "Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. We love our families," he wrote. "Whenever we got together I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gianna was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah. I miss you already brother. This is truly unbelievable. Everyone please keep the Bryant’s in your prayers. R.I.P"
Bryant was 41 years old at the time of his death. 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.
The former NBA pro is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and their three other children: Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.