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Source: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.com / WENNThe sports world and beyond are in shock as news hits the airwaves that former Los Angeles Lakers and five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant has died in his private helicopter after it crashed in the Southern California area at 10:01am PCT., local time, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  The incident took place on Sunday.

Eight other people, including his daughter Gianna Marie Onore Bryant aka GiGi, 13, were also killed in the crash. Sources say that they were all on their way to the Mamba Academy for basketball practice.

Those close to Kobe say that he was known for commuting from Newport Beach, CA to the STAPLES Center in his Sikorsky S-76 chopper.

Immediately following the crash, a fire broke out, Emergency personnel responded, but nobody on board survived.

We’re also told that his wife Vanessa Bryant was not among those on board.

What a tragic way to start the year with such an unbelievable fatality, with some believing this would be the year that Bryant would have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Responses have been pouring in from across the country.

May we keep Kobe’s family, team members, fans and friends all in our prayers.

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