The LA Lakers star’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna was also on board the private chopper when it crashed in Calabasas, say reports from the US.
It is understood FIVE people have died in the crash, with nobody on board surviving.
TMZ stated that reps for the sports ace said 13-year-old Gianna was among the dead.
Kobe and the teen were on their way to the Mamba Academy for a basketball practice when the crash occurred.
Images from the scene showed smoke rising from a hillside amid foggy conditions.
An investigation into the incident – which happened this morning – is now underway.
According to TMZ, the helicopter went up in a ball of fire after hitting the ground.
Witnesses saw the helicopter in the distress, LA County Fire Capt. Tony Imbrenda told reporters.
It is not known whether the pilot alerted over radio that the aircraft was in trouble, he added.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the Sikorsky S-76 crashed under “unknown circumstances.”
It is unclear who the helicopter belonged to or where it originated from and was going to.
L.A. Times reporter Richard Winton reported the mountains were “fogged in.”
“I heard the plane splutter and then a boom,” he tweeted.
“It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Kobe Bryant and four others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, the City of Calabasas’ Twitter accounted tweeted.
“The aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 this morning. Nobody on the ground was hurt.”
The father-of-four transcended sports and was recognised as one of the greatest players every to take to the court.
He was often referred to by his self-given nickname ‘The Black Mamba’ a type of snake, that signified his competitive attitude on the court.
His playing career and lucrative endorsements earned him a £500m personal fortune.
Among his many sponsors were McDonald’s, Nike, Sprite, Nutella, and Spalding.
The star’s shock death sparked an outpouring of grief from the basketball world.
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic tweeting: “NO PLEASE, I’m shaking this can’t be true please.”
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love said: “Please no. Please God no. It can’t be true.”
Tristan Thompson added: “I hope this isn’t true man!!! Not Kobe.”
Ellen DeGeneres 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.”
Bryant starred for two decades for the Los Angeles Lakers, amassing a historic five championships while making 18 All-Star Games.
Bryant was drafted straight to the NBA from high school — where he won the Pennsylvania state championship in 1996.
He was picked up by the Charlotte Hornets before being traded to the Lakers.
Forming a formidable partnership with Shaquille O’Neal on court, the 41-year-old led the LA side to three back-to-back NBA championships from 2000-2002.
He also won an Oscar for best short animated film in 2018 for Dear Basketball, a five-minute film based on a love letter to the sport he had written in 2015.
Kobe’s career in numbers
- 4th highest all-time NBA scorer – 33,643
- 5× NBA champion (2000–2002, 2009, 2010)
- 2× NBA Finals MVP (2009, 2010)
- NBA Most Valuable Player (2008)
- 18× NBA All-Star (1998, 2000–2016)
- 4× NBA All-Star Game MVP (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011
- 11× All-NBA First Team (2002–2004, 2006–2013)
- 2× All-NBA Second Team (2000, 2001)
2× All-NBA Third Team (1999, 2005)
- 9× NBA All-Defensive First Team (2000, 2003, 2004, 2006–2011)
- 3× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2001, 2002, 2012)
- 2× NBA scoring champion (2006, 2007)
- OLYMPIC CHAMPION: Beijing 2008, London 2012