Kobe and Vanessa Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter was among the victims killed in the helicopter crash that also took the life of the legendary NBA star. After rumors of who else may have been aboard the aircraft, it has been confirmed that Gianna “GiGi” Bryant was one of the victims killed in the crash and subsequent fire. Reps for Bryant confirmed to TMZ that GiGi was on board, as she and her father Kobe were headed to the Mamba Sports Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks.
The crash occurred Sunday morning in Calabasas. The Bryants were riding in Kobe’s private helicopter with multiple passengers when the aircraft struck a mountainside and burst into flames. The fire ignited a small brushfire nearby, which made it difficult for emergency responders to get to the downed helicopter, according to officials.
It’s unclear what caused the crash, but there are reports that witnesses noticed the aircraft begin to experience trouble while flying over downtown Los Angeles. Others claimed they heard audible sputtering noises coming from the chopper before it struck the Calabasas mountainside.
Fans were devastated and shocked to learn of the passing of Kobe Bryant, but now that it is known Gianna was also onboard, people are truly gutted.
“13 yr old girl gone. Vanessa Bryant and all of Gianna’s sisters must be stuck in an absolute whirlwind of emotion and pain. It’s no longer a sports tragedy, that’s just a family tragedy that somehow got that much sadder,” KFC from Barstool Sports commented on Twitter.
Rob Kardashian, who is a huge Los Angeles Lakers fan, was devastated to hear the news. Kardashian tweeted, “I can’t believe this cruel World ? RIP Gianna Maria Bryant. Rest In Peace Queen Mamba.”
I can’t believe this cruel World 😓 RIP Gianna Maria Bryant. Rest In Peace Queen Mamba 💔💔💔 pic.twitter.com/mEe0X8sr1p
— ROBERT KARDASHIAN (@robkardashian) January 26, 2020
Gianna Bryant was a rising basketball star and had learned all her skills from her father. She played for the Los Angeles Lady Mamba girls basketball team and had been coined with the nickname, “Mambacita,” after Kobe’s famous “Black Mamba.” It was only natural that GiGi inherited her father’s skills, and he also served as a coach on the team. He could be regularly seen cheering her on during practices and games and was her biggest fan, along with Vanessa Bryant.