A world is waking up Monday morning trying to come to grips that a sports legend is suddenly gone.

All were stopped in their tracks when learning that Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others died Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in California. Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and former league MVP who became one of the greatest players of all-time during a lengthy career with the Los Angeles Lakers, was 41.

The helicopter crashed in Calabasas, Calif., which is in Los Angeles County and about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. There were no survivors.

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our league with accomplishments that are legendary.”

In addition to his MVP award and five championships, Bryant was an 18-time All-Star and a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

The cause of the crash was unknown. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said a manifest indicated nine people — the pilot plus eight others — were aboard the helicopter. It was a Sikorsky S-76.

All eight NBA games went on as scheduled Sunday as players and fans openly grieved. The San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors both took voluntary 24-second shot clock violations at the start of their game in honor of Bryant, who wore No. 24 for the second half of his career.

“I thought he was going to live forever,” Lakers great Magic Johnson said. “I thought he was invincible. … There was nobody who took more pride in putting on that Laker uniform than Kobe. Nobody. He was just special. We will miss him and we’ll remember him for his greatness, but let’s not forget how he impacted the world, too.”

Bryant had four daughters with his wife, Vanessa, and was a promoter of women’s sports in his retirement. Gianna, better known as Gigi, shared her father’s love for the game.

Bryant often used helicopters as transportation to escape the traffic in and around the Los Angeles area. He would travel to games and practices in helicopters and kept using them after his retirement from the NBA in 2016.

Bryant was the third-leading scorer in NBA history upon his retirement. Current Laker LeBron James passed Bryant for third on the list just Saturday night in Philadelphia, Bryant’s hometown. Bryant tweeted congratulations to James on the accomplishment.

“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames,” Bryant said. “Much respect my brother.”

“I remember one thing he said: If you want to be great at it, or want to be one of the greats, you’ve got to put the work in.”
LeBron James

Bryant passed Michael Jordan for that honor Dec. 14, 2014, in a game against the Timberwolves at Target Center. When Bryant officially passed Jordan, owner Glen Taylor made a presentation to Bryant and the Target Center crowd gave him a standing ovation.

James and Bryant trail only Karl Malone, who is second, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Bryant averaged 24.2 points in 64 career regular-season games against the Wolves, pushing that to 28.1 in 12 playoff games.

“The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx organization is deeply saddened by the passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and those affected in today’s tragedy,” the Wolves and Lynx said in a joint statement. “Few players have had the worldwide impact on the game of basketball that Kobe did. His immense presence was felt not only on the court, but off the court as a husband, father, mentor, and entrepreneur. The NBA and the world are in a better place because of Kobe.”

Jordan released a statement saying Bryant was “like a little brother to me.”

“We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much,” Jordan said. “He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply.”

Wolves players reacted to the news on social media.

“I’m numb,” tweeted center Karl-Anthony Towns shortly after the news broke.

Andrew Wiggins posted a photo of him and Bryant on Instagram.

“I grew up watching and admiring your game,” Wiggins said in the photo’s caption. “Your impact goes beyond the basketball court from the way you carried yourself and how you were with your family. It was an honor and privilege to get the opportunity to compete with you and even hear the way you spoke about me at such a young age in my career.”

Forward Robert Covington also posted a picture on Instagram of Bryant embracing him after a game when Covington played with Philadelphia.

“This can’t be real,” Covington wrote. “We lost a living legend, the only time I got to go against you in my career. Thank you Mamba. RIP Gigi as well.”

Mamba refers to Bryant’s nickname and the “Mamba Mentality,” which became synonymous with Bryant’s well-known competitive nature.

Former Gophers women’s basketball star Rachel Banham, now with the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, is a huge Bryant fan who caught his eye with her scoring exploits in college. She posted on social media: “I can’t believe it. … My heart hurts. … RIP to my idol and his beautiful daughter GiGi”.

Bryant won NBA championships in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010. He won the first three while teaming with all-time great center Shaquille O’Neal under coach Phil Jackson to form one of the most dominant teams in league history.

In 2003, Bryant was charged with sexually assaulting a 19-year-old employee at a Colorado resort. He had said the two had consensual sex, and the charge was eventually dropped. The woman later filed a civil suit against Bryant that was settled out of court.

Bryant’s popularity remained strong in his adopted hometown of Los Angeles even during the sexual assault allegations.

Fans gathered outside of Staples Center, the home of the Lakers, where the Grammy Awards also took place Sunday.

Bryant opened a production company and entered the entertainment field in retirement. He won an Academy Award in 2018 for his contributions to “Dear Basketball,” an animated short about his relationship to the game.

He was revered by this generation of NBA players, many of whom looked up to him. His father, Joe, played eight seasons in the NBA.

James spoke about Bryant’s impact Saturday after passing him on the all-time scoring list.

“I remember one thing he said: If you want to be great at it, or want to be one of the greats, you’ve got to put the work in.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.