27 Jan 2020

World mourns NBA star Kobe Bryant, killed in helicopter crash

From Checkpoint, 5:06 pm on 27 January 2020

The world is mourning a basketball legend after former NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash along with seven others on Monday morning (NZ time).

The 41-year-old was accompanying his daughter to her basketball game in Los Angeles when a witness describes their helicopter exploding mid-air before crashing to the ground, killing all nine onboard.

Bryant's NBA career for the LA Lakers spanned 20 years before his retirement in 2016. He was also an NBA most valuable player, an Olympian and the first professional athlete to win an Oscar.

His illustrious career wasn't all plain sailing though. In 2003 he was charged with sexual assault after he was accused of raping a hotel employee.

The charges were later dropped after an out of court settlement was reached.

As Checkpoint's Bridget Burke reports, his death has shocked the world and tributes continue to flow for the father of four, from sports stars, to performance artists and presidents.