Via Zerohedge

TMZ has confirmed that basketball legend Kobe Bryant – one of the biggest sports stars in the world – died Sunday morning in a helicopter crash over Calabasas, a tony city in LA County known as a haven for celebrities. He was 41.

Though many online wished that news of his death was fake or some kind of sick joke…

…several local news outlets have confirmed the story.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Per TMZ, Kobe has famously used a helicopter to travel for years, even when he was still playing with the LA Lakers. He was known for commuting from his home in Newport Beach to the Staples Center in his Sikorsky S-76 chopper. Kobe was traveling with at least three other people in his private chopper when it went down.

Local news reported that Malibu deputies responded to what appears to be the scene of the crash, though both TMZ and the LA County Police Twitter feed described the crash as occurring over Calabasas. The tweets didn’t name any of the victims.

The LA Times confirmed that the crash happened at around 10 am PT (1 pm ET). The crash ignited a brush fire that made it nearly impossible for rescue personnel to reach the aircraft. They also confirmed that the model of the chopper was a Sikorsky S-76, the same model as Kobe’s private chopper.

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Many have turned to Bryant’s twitter account, hoping he’ll fire off a tweet letting the world know it was just a hoax. But his last tweet, sent 16 hours ago (before this morning’s crash), praises Lebron James, the new star of Bryant’s old team, the Lakers. Bryant was a huge part of what made the Lakers one of the most dominant franchises in the NBA. On Saturday, James passed Bryant on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa, and their four daughters, Gianna, Natalia and Bianca and their newborn Capri.

2020 has been one incredibly strange year – and it’s still January.