US basketball star Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash

US basketball legend Kobe Bryant has been killed in a horror helicopter crash in California.

The LA Lakers star was 41.

He was travelling in his private chopper when it came down on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

President Donald Trump tweeted: ‘Terrible news.’

NBC News reported that his 13-year-old daughter Gigi and four others were in the private helicopter when it fell out of the sky near Calabasas.

Eyewitnesses said that they heard the engine spluttering before it went down.

Images from the scene showed smoke rising from a hillside.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the aircraft crashed in foggy weather, and ignited brushfires, making it hard for rescue crews to get close to the site.

The emergency services said there were no  survivors.

Bryant retired in 2016 after becoming one of the most popular sports stars in the US.

The five-times NBA champion and a two-times Olympic gold medalist was considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

He was born in Philadelphia but grew up in Italy, where his father played basketball for several years.

Bryant entered the NBA after graduating from high school in 1996 and became one of the youngest players in the league’s history.

Friends, celebrities and former basketball players took to social media to pay tribute to the star.

American comedian and TV host Ellen DeGeneres said she was ‘stunned and saddened’ by the news.

She said on Twitter: ‘Like everyone, I’m stunned and saddened by the news about Kobe Bryant. My heart is broken for his wife and family.’

NFL star Tom Brady and Olympic champion runner Usain Bold also paid tribute to the basketball legend.

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