Shortly after news of Kobe Bryant's death surfaced online, Disney chief Bob Iger took to Twitter to share a statement on behalf of himself and The Walt Disney Company. "Today we @WaltDisneyCo mourn the tragic loss of @kobebryant," Iger tweeted. "A giant in sports and a person so full of life. Terrible news and so hard to process...."
News of Bryant's death first surfaced via TMZ, who reported the former NBA All-Star was a passenger in a helicopter that crashed in Calabasas, California. He was 41. According to the initial report, four other passengers were on the craft at the time and none survived. The other passengers have yet to be identified as of this writing.
After an illustrious 20-year career in the NBA — in which he played the entire term for the Los Angeles Lakers — Bryant retired in 2016. Renowned as one of the best to play the game, Bryant had been pursuing many off-court opportunities in his post-playing career.
In 2018, Bryant won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for his work writing Dear Basketball, an animated film about a letter he previously wrote for the sports journalism site The Players' Tribune.
As of his death, Bryant holds dozens of records in the NBA, most notably most seasons played for a single NBA franchise (20) and most All-NBA selections (15). He was also the youngest player to reach 33,000 points scored, passing all-time great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at 37 years and 138 days old.
Cover photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images