Moscow: Five-time National Basketball Association (NBA) champion Kobe Bryant, who spent his entire professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers, is one of five people to have died in a helicopter crash in the US state of California on Sunday, the Los Angeles Times newspaper reported, citing local sources.
According to the newspaper, the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed near the city of Calabasas due to foggy weather. Local police confirmed the incident.
"Five people confirmed deceased, no survivors in #Calabasas helicopter crash. #LASD #Malibu deputies remain with #LA County Fire personnel. Investigation ongoing," the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department wrote on Twitter.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating the crash, the newspaper reported.Later on Sunday, the city of Calabasas confirmed that Bryant was in the helicopter when it crashed.
"It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Kobe Bryant and four others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. The aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 [18:00 GMT] this morning. Nobody on the ground was hurt. The FAA and NTSB [National Transportation Safety Board] are investigating," the city administration wrote on Twitter.
In a glittering 20-year career, Bryant led the Lakers to five NBA championships, and was awarded the league's Most Valuable Player award in the 2007/08 season. He is the NBA's fourth all-time scoring leader with 33,643 points, having held onto third spot until Saturday, when fellow Laker LeBron James overtook his total.