The death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna sent shockwaves around the world as everyone could hardly process the news they were hearing, and Kobe’s longtime teammate and friend, Shaquille O’Neal, is taking it harder than most. Shaq took to Instagram Sunday afternoon shortly after it was confirmed that both Kobe and Gianna were killed when their helicopter slammed into a mountainside in Calabasas while on the way to basketball practice.
Alongside a photo of the two from their days as NBA stars on the Los Angeles Lakers, Shaq wrote a touching tribute to his fallen friend.
“There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of loosing [sic] my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie,” Shaq wrote in his eulogy to Kobe.
Shaq continued, sending out love to Vanessa Bryant and the rest of the family during such a terrible time.
“I love you brother and you will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW !”
Others stars have gone on social media since learning of the loss and expressed confusion and sadness over Kobe and his daughter’s death.
Kevin Hart, who knew Kobe well, wrote that he had just seen the NBA legend:
“This honestly doesn’t make sense….I just saw you man. This hurts my heart. God please place your hands on his family and help guide them thru this unbearable time. We love you forever man…Legends never die!!!! #MambaMentality #RIP…. RIP to the other passengers as well as sending prayers to their families.”
Around 10:07 AM it was reported that a helicopter had crashed into a mountainside in Calabasas and burst into flames. Unfortunately, the fire ignited a brush fire that made it impossible for emergency crews to get to the crash site immediately. Upon being able to investigate the crash, it was determined that 5 victims perished, including Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. The other victims were a teammate and a parent, as well as the pilot.
The helicopter was reportedly flying to a basketball game at Kobe’s Black Mamba Sports Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks. The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.