Kobe Bryant has died

Kobe Bryant has died aged 41 after being involved in a helicopter crash.

The basketball legend tragically passed away in Calabasas, California, on Sunday (26.01.20) morning, when his private helicopter crashed, according to TMZ.

Kobe was in the helicopter with at least three other people when it went down, and no-one on board survived the incident, with five people confirmed dead.

TMZ reports that Kobe's wife Vanessa was not on board at the time, and neither were any of their four daughters - Gianna, Natalia, Bianca, and newborn Capri.

Eyewitness claim they heard the helicopter's engine sputtering before it went down, but the cause of the crash is still under investigation as of the time of writing.

Kobe is widely considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, making 18 All-Star teams during his 20 year career with the LA Lakers, as well as being a first-round pick in the 1996 draft, winning five NBA championships, two NBA Finals MVPs and being named the league MVP in 2008.

The Lakers famously retired both of Kobe's jerseys, number 8 and 24, and he is the only player in team history to have received that honour.

Kobe also achieved success in the film world, winning an Oscar for his short film, 'Dear Basketball', in 2018.

Several stars have already paid tribute to Kobe on social media, including Ellen Degeneres, who said she is "stunned and saddened" by the news.

On Twitter, she wrote: "Like everyone, I'm stunned and saddened by the news about Kobe Bryant. My heart is broken for his wife and family."

Whilst Reese Witherspoon wrote: "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. (sic)"