Reaction from the basketball world and beyond on the death of retired NBA superstar Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash today at age 41:
“Kobe was not only an icon in the sports arena, he was a man of the world and touched so many lives and communities in the most positive ways. His star was continuing to rise every day and he knew no limits because of his many intellectual and creative talents and desire to give back to others – his passion for the game, for his family and for others was apparent in everything he accomplished.” — NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird
“Jeannine & I are absolutely shocked to hear of the loss of one of my favorite people & one of the best basketball minds in the history of the game! Our hearts and prayers to Vanessa & his girls. @kobebryant you were my biggest fan, but I was yours. #RIPMAMBA” — NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell via Twitter
“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.” — actress Reese Witherspoon via Twitter
“As I tweet through my tears, I am so hurt. I cannot stop crying. Kobe was instrumental to so many people. There is a hole in the basketball world and there will be for a long time. Rest in heavenly peace.” — the Rev. Jesse Jackson via Twitter
“Today we at @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....” — Robert Iger, chairman and CEO of Disney, via Twitter
“A true gladiator in our life time. You will be forever in our memories, our childrens memories, and generations to come.” — rapper Wyclef Jean via Twitter
“I'm at a loss for words. @kobebryant was a long-time friend, an inspiration and we shared our first ever commercial @espn together as professionals. I love you forever. #RIPMAMBA” — Retired NFL player Keyshawn Johnson
“Shocked by the death of @kobebryant, an exemplary athlete both on and off the basketball court. Our most heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones. Rest in peace.” — FC Barcelona football club via Twitter
“Kobe Bryant Rest in Peace. Unbelievable, unbelievably sad...” — NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas via Twitter
“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.” — Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles mayor, via Twitter.
“I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing. Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling. I loved Kobe – he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much. He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force.
"Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply – and took great pride in his daughter’s love for the game of basketball. Yvette joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organisation and basketball fans around the world.” - NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan via Twitter
"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." - retired NBA player Shaquille O'Neal via Twitter
"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." - former US president Barack Obama via Twitter