LA police have confirmed the death of nine people in the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash
Last night, the shocking news broke that former NBA star Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash.
The incident occurred in the Calabasas area of California.
Speaking at a press conference at 2.30pm PST (10.30pm GMT), Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva confirmed that nine people died in the crash.
"We're awaiting the arrival of the coroner's office to assist in the recovery of the remains," Villanueva said.
"As the fire chief indicated, there were no survivors. We have a manifest that indicates that there was nine people on board the aircraft - the pilot plus eight individuals."
"There is wide speculation as to who the identities are. However, it would be entirely inappropriate right now to identify anyone by name until the coroner has made the identification."
"It would be extremely disrespectful to understand that your loved one has perished and you learn about it from TMZ. That is just wholly inappropriate so we're not going to be going there."
Our hearts are broken with the news from media reports of the loss of Kobe Bryant & his daughter Gianna. He will always be a figure that captured the imagination of generations of Angelenos. Our thoughts are with his family during this unimaginably difficult time as we all mourn. pic.twitter.com/RJajMf1N21
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) January 26, 2020
"We are going to wait until the coroner does their job and we are assisting the families of those who believe that they have been impacted."
"It's a tough process and our hope goes out to all of the family members of everyone who was on board this aircraft. God bless their souls."
The National Basketball Players Association also released a statement:
"We are stunned and devastated by the news of the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant," the statement began.
"Words cannot express his impact on our players, the NBA and the game of basketball. This is a monumental loss for the entire basketball community and our hearts are quite simply broken."
"We send love and prayers out to his wife Vanessa and the entire family."
Are thoughts are with the Bryant family at this heartbreaking time.