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Heartfelt tributes pour in for Kobe Bryant on social media after his death

The five-time NBA champion died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

Emotional tributes from celebrities, athletes, and political leaders worldwide have poured in on social media after news came out that National Basketball Association (NBA) legend Kobe Bryant has died at 41.

The five-time NBA champion died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday, January 26.

His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, and seven other people were also on board the private helicopter.

They were on their way to Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, where he was to coach Gianna’s school basketball team.

No one survived the accident.

Famous personalities from all over the world were shocked and saddened by the death of the NBA superstar, who had the nickname “Black Mamba.”

Here’s what they had to say:

“Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gigi was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah,” Shaquille O’Neal said.

“We miss you already Kobe ❤️❤️🙏🏼🙏🏼”

“Like everyone, I’m stunned, shocked and saddened to hear the horrific news about Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter who died in a helicopter crash. Thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this extremely sad time!”

“As I try to write this post, my mind is racing. I’m in disbelief and have been crying all morning over this devastating news that Kobe and his young daughter, Gigi have passed away in a helicopter crash. Cookie and I are heartbroken.”

“Most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of basketball players. But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete.”

“I can’t believe that my hero and friend is gone too soon. I’m numb.”

“I love you Kobe.”

“Like everyone, I’m stunned and saddened by the news about Kobe Bryant. My heart is broken for his wife and family.”

“My thoughts and prayers are with Kobe Bryant’s family, and the families of all those involved. Today reminds us just how short and precious life is, and a reason to be grateful and celebrate life while we can. Rest In Peace Mamba.”

“Just devastated to hear about #KobeBryant.💔 An extraordinary athlete, and a genuinely kind, wonderful man. Sending love, prayers & compassion to his family. To his entire @NBA family as well.”

“So many memories watching this man play. I can’t even imagine what Vanessa is feeling. This is such devastating news. ‘The connections we make in the course of a life–maybe that’s what heaven is.’ -Fred Rogers”

“Kobe was truly larger than life, a legend. May he and all those who lost their lives today rest in peace. Love and condolences to his family. LA will never be the same.”

“Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.”

“Reports are that basketball great Kobe Bryant and three others have been killed in a helicopter crash in California. That is terrible news!”

“The world has lost a legend, and a family has lost its light. May the prayers of millions of people from around the world give #KobeBryant ’s family and those of the others who died in this heartbreaking tragedy courage and strength.”

“The world lost a legend today but the impact and legacy he leaves behind will last forever!”

“Heroes come and go, but LEGENDS are forever! Thank you Kobe for being an Inspiration and a Hero to many!”

“I’ve never been an athlete but I became a fan of @kobebryant because of how he stretched the limits of what a human being can do and what the human spirit can achieve. And how he inspired us to do the same. #MambaForever #LegendsNeverDie”

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Bryant, who had been a frequent visitor to the Philippines, “was well-loved by his Filipino fans.”

“On the hard court, he was a sight to behold with his dexterity and accuracy in sinking that ball in the ring. He was a master of his craft. The basketball world has lost one of its legendary greats,” Panelo said in a statement.

“The Palace extends its deepest condolences to the family, friends, colleagues, loved ones and fans around the globe who Kobe left behind. We share in their grief,” he added.

Bryant first traveled to Manila in August 1998. He went back in September 2007 and July 2009.

Then he returned again in July 2011, August 2013 and June 2016, his last.

Filipinos showered him with love every time he visited the country.

Bryant was a Los Angeles Laker for two decades, winning five championships and making 18 All-Star Games before his retirement in 2016.

Written by Angelle De Leon

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