Kobe Bryant was reaching out to loved ones just hours before his death. On Sunday, ET confirmed that the 41-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers star had died in a helicopter crash. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also on the chopper and died along with seven others.
Those closest to Bryant publicly shared their grief over the death of the iconic athlete. Shaquille O'Neal's 20-year-old son, Shareef O'Neal, took to Twitter to share the message Bryant sent to him just hours before his untimely death.
"Literally this morning you reached out to me," he wrote. "I love you forever unc, I love you."
In the message sent at 8:19 a.m. local time, Bryant wrote, "You good fam?"
Almost three hours later, Shareef replied, but by that point, it's not likely that Bryant saw his response.
Shareef's father, Shaquille, also paid tribute to his late friend and former teammate on social media. Bryant and Shaquille played together on the 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," Shaq captioned a series of photos of him and Bryant. "I love you brother and you will be missed."
He also praised Bryant's life as a family man in a subsequent post, writing, "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. 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"