Shock took over Hollywood upon the news that Kobe Bryant, 41, died Sunday in an helicopter accident outside of Calabasas, Calif. Bryant was one of nine people, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who died on board his private helicopter.
Former President Barack Obama, Kanye West, Jamie Foxx, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend were among those who shared their disbelief over the news on social media.
“Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act,” Obama wrote on Twitter. “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.”
West shared a photo in the recording studio with Bryant and said, “Kobe, We love you brother. We’re praying for your family and appreciate the life you’ve lived and all the inspiration you gave.”
Fox took to Instagram, also posting a photo of Bryant and his family. “Just can’t take this one,” Foxx captioned the picture. “Sending up prayers to your beautiful family. This hurt for a lifetime… @kobebryant you will be missed for eternity. REST IN POWER.”
Teigen expressed similar sentiments, saying, “I cannot believe this is real. My god. Oh my god.” Her husband, John Legend, wrote, “I’m so sad and stunned right now. In Staples Arena, where Kobe created so many memories for all of us, preparing to pay tribute to another brilliant man we lost too soon, Nipsey Hussle. Life can be so brutal and senseless sometimes. Hold on to your loved ones. We miss you, Kobe.”
Bryant, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers for most of his storied career, was regarded as an icon in the Southern California community. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a statement, saying, “Kobe Bryant was a giant who inspired, amazed, and thrilled people everywhere with his incomparable skill on the court — and awed us with his intellect and humility as a father, husband, creative genius, and ambassador for the game he loved. He will live forever in the heart of Los Angeles, and will be remembered through the ages as one of our greatest heroes. This is a moment that leaves us struggling to find words that express the magnitude of shock and sorrow we are all feeling right now, and I am keeping Kobe’s entire family in my prayers at this time of unimaginable grief.”
Fellow NBA legend Shaq found it hard to express his devastation. “There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice [sic] Gigi & my brother @kobebryant,” Shaq said. “I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW.”
Ellen DeGeneres also offered her condolences, writing, “Like everyone, I’m stunned and saddened by the news about Kobe Bryant. My heart is broken for his wife and family.”
Reese Witherspoon paid her respects on social media, offering support to Bryant’s family. “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,” she wrote on Twitter.
Justin Bieber posted an old photo with Bryant on Instagram, writing, “It can’t be. You always encouraged me mamba. Gave me me some of the best quotes that we smile about to this day.! Love you man!”
Disney CEO Bob Iger called the news “hard to process.” He wrote, “Today we @WaltDisneyCo mourn the tragic loss of @kobebryant…a giant in sports and a person so full of life. Terrible news and so hard to process….”
Like Garcetti, Mindy Kaling recognized Bryant as a vital member of the Los Angeles community. “#KobeBryant you were the greatest,” Kaling said. “You made our city and the rest of the world so proud. Every basketball fan knew the magnificence of the Mamba. Love and healing to Vanessa and those little girls. God, this is just the worst ever.”
Taylor Swift also took to Twitter in remembrance of Bryant. “My heart is in pieces hearing the news of this unimaginable tragedy,” she wrote. “I can’t fathom what the families are going through. Kobe meant so much to me and to us all. Sending my prayers, love, and endless condolences to Vanessa and the family and anyone who lost someone on that flight.”
Fellow basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar posted a somber video processing the news. “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,” he said.
Khloe Kardashian, a Calabasas native, wrote, “Please don’t let this be true. I’m shaking.”
Actor Jeffrey Wright offered his regards, writing, “Kobe literally just broke the internet. Life is just so beyond our capacity to control. May his loved ones and those of all who perished find peace.”
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