The internet's heart was broken when it was revealed that legendary NBA player, Kobe Bryant, had died in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning. He was just forty-one-years-old. 9 people are now confirmed dead.
The star was known for being one of the greatest players of all time, with a career with the Lakers spanning 2 decades. Bryant's daughter, Gianna was also on board the helicopter with her father and has died in the crash.
Tributes have poured in for the star from celebrities and fans alike. Jimmy Fallon delivered a heartfelt speech about Kobe and broke down in
Keep scrolling to see the emotional video.
It has been confirmed that Kobe Bryant has tragically died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.
via: Getty ImagesThe NBA star's private helicopter crashed in Calabasas, TMZ sports confirms.
Bryant was a true basketball star.
via: TwitterHis father, Joe Bryant, was also a professional NBA player, and Kobe began playing basketball professionally straight out of high school.
He was a true legend in the sport.
via: TwitterBy his second season, Kobe had been named an All-Star.
When he was just thirty-four years old, Kobe became the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points.
via: TwitterAnd on February 1st of 2010, it was announced Kobe was the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history.
His achievements didn't end there.
via: TwitterKobe also won 2 gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
He was a massive success off the court, too.
via: TwitterIn 2018, Kobe won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for Dear Basketball.
Kobe retired after the 2015-16 season.
via: TwitterBut he stayed busy, focusing on many other career pursuits - alongside raising his family.
In 1999, Kobe met Vanessa Laine.
via: TwitterThe pair were both just 17-years-old but quickly fell in love - becoming engaged after only six months of dating.
Vanessa and Kobe married in 2001.
via: TwitterTheir first daughter was then born in 2003.
Their relationship wasn't always smooth sailing.
via: TwitterThey filed for divorce in 2011, but called off the breakup in 2013.
They shared 4 daughters.
via: TwitterTheir eldest was Natalia, who's 17, followed by Gianna, followed by Bianka, aged 3, and Capri, aged just 7 months.
And he really loved being a dad.
via: TwitterAs this photo of the Bryants in full family Halloween costume proves.
Kobe was known for opting to use a helicopter for travel...
via: Getty ImagesBut tragically, his private helicopter went down and a "fire broke out," TMZ reports.
During a press conference, it was confirmed there were no survivors.
This is utterly devastating news...
Bryant's daughter, Gianna, was also on board the helicopter at the time of the crash.
via: Getty ImagesTMZ Sports reports that Gianna, aged 13, has tragically died in the crash. It is thought that the father and daughter were on their way to the Mamba Academy for basketball practice, nearby Thousand Oaks.
Gianna was Kobe's second-eldest daughter.
via: TwitterShe was born on May 1st of 2006, and was set to follow in Kobe's footsteps.
She often accompanied Kobe to basketball games.
via: TwitterIn fact, from childhood, Gianna would participate in the team warm-ups.
Kobe supported his daughter's passion for the sport.
via: TwitterHe would regularly take her along to women's basketball games - and Gianna played for the Mamba Academy ballers, where her father was the coach.
Kobe and Gianna were also very close.
via: TwitterThe 2 often pictured giggling and smiling together, and it's clear she was the apple of her father's eye.
Alongside Kobe and Gianna, 7 others have been confirmed to have died.
via: TwitterAll 9 of the passengers on board were confirmed to have died in the tragic crash.
And tributes have poured out for the victims.
via: TwitterIt's clear Kobe was an absolutely beloved presence in the celebrity world - and will be horribly missed.
Last night, Jimmy Fallon remembered Kobe Bryant.
via: Getty ImagesThe late-night host dedicated a monologue to the late basketball star where he spoke about how the 2 had initially met while they were finding their feet in Los Angeles and how close they grew to be.
He said this:
via: YouTube"I met Kobe when he was seventeen and I was twenty-one. He was a rookie on the Lakers and I was just starting out in the comedy scene in LA."
Their friendship began after bumping into each other at a party.
via: YouTube"We didn't know anyone at the party so we just started talking. I said like 'hey, what do you do' and he said 'I play basketball.' I asked 'where?' and he said 'for the Lakers.'"
They instantly hit it off and spent the majority of the night talking.
via: YouTubeBut then it was time for a beer run, so Kobe volunteered to do it and asked Jimmy to come along with him. So fast forward a short car drive, they both found themselves at a store that refused to sell them anything because their policy revolved around "delivering orders."
So you'll never guess what the basketballer did...
via: YouTubeHe pulled out his ID and pressed it up against the glass and said: "I'm a Laker." And that's all it took.
The 2 left the place with 5 cases of beer in their hands.
via: YouTube"Yeah and we saved the party," Jimmy laughs, recalling the memory. "We said 'goodnight' and then obviously Kobe went on to become a legend..."
His face then becomes sombre as he talks about Kobe's accolades.
via: YouTube"And when we'd run into each other over the years, we would laugh about the night we met..." His voice cracks and his breathing becomes heavy. Knowing he must continue, he muffles his sobs with his hands and tries to deliver the rest of his speech as coherently as he can.
"We'd laugh about the good things that had happened since."
via: YouTube"We laughed about how fun it was to raise kids and all the stupid mistakes we made trying to figure out how to be good dads..."
He talked about his own family and his daughters.
via: YouTube"I have 2 daughters... And today he and one of his girls are gone," he bites his lip and wipes tears from his eyes.
He then honored his long-time friend, his daughter and the other victims.
via: YouTube"Let's honor [them] by following his example. Love your family, love your teammates and outwork everyone else in the gym. To Vanessa and all those affected by this tragedy, we love you and will always be there for you."
He ended his monologue with a touching message, addressing it directly to Kobe.
via: YouTube"Kobe, when we meet again, we're going for a beer run."