Katie Taylor and Ronan O'Gara are among the Irish sports stars paying tribute to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna who lost their lives in a helicopter crash yesterday.
Legendary LA Lakers basketball star Kobe, 41, and 13-year-old Gianna were among nine people who lost their lives in the accident which happened in the city of Calabasas at around 5.47pm Irish time on Sunday evening. Other people known to have lost their lives include baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, who was a basketball teammate of Gianna's.
Since the news broke, tributes have been paid to Bryant from all over the world, and a number of NBA players were visibly emotional throughout their games yesterday. Bryant was also remembered at last night's Grammy Awards which was held at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, the home arena of the Lakers where he enjoyed so many memorable moments.
Here in Ireland, athletes have been paying their own tributes to Kobe Bryant, with boxer Katie Taylor, former Dublin footballer Jason Sherlock, golfer Rory McIlroy and former rugby star Ronan O'Gara among those offering their condolences...
Heartbreaking. 🙏❤️ https://t.co/0eeY6djlbA
— Katie Taylor (@KatieTaylor) January 26, 2020
41 and his 13 year old daughter. So cruel and sad. I’m 42 and have a 11 year old daughter. Got to make the most of it..#ripkobe
— Ronan O Gara (@RonanOGara10) January 26, 2020
— Jason Sherlock (@boomjayo) January 26, 2020
Devastated by the news of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and the others who perished in the crash. The outpouring of mourning in the wake of this tragedy shows just how big Kobe’s impact was on the world, not just the game of basketball. Mamba Forever. pic.twitter.com/RVe7Xeq5V2
— Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory) January 27, 2020
— Simon Zebo (@SimonZebo) January 26, 2020
Terrible news coming out of California. A legend gone too soon and to hear his daughter was also on board is absolutely heartbreaking. Thoughts and prayers are with his family and to the families of the others on board 💔💔 #KobeBryant
— Stephanie Roche (@StephanieRoche9) January 26, 2020
— Katie McCabe (@Katie_McCabe11) January 26, 2020
Conor McGregor reacts to the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. pic.twitter.com/upFgH7Yg1C
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) January 27, 2020
Kobe Bryant was born in Philadelphia in 1978 to former NBA player Joe Bryant and Pamela Cox Bryant. In the 1996/97 season, he became the youngest ever player to appear in an NBA game at the age of 18 years and 72 days.
Throughout a 20-year career, Kobe Bryant became one of the most recognisable names in the NBA, very much transcending the sport and helping to increase the profile of basketball around the world.
Kobe Bryant and Gianna are survived by his wife Vanessa as well as his three other daughters Natalia (17), Bianka (3) and Capri who was born in June 2019.