Kobe Bryant dies at 41

By Fernando Alfonso III, Amir Vera and Aimee Lewis, CNN

Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT) January 28, 2020
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6:47 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Bryant's global appeal

Bryant made his name in Los Angeles but his influence was global. Hours before his death a new basketball hall had opened in Manila, Philippines, named in his honor, local press reports. The new gym has now become a place where fans can pay their respects to their hero.

Children play basketball at the "House of Kobe" gym, built in honor of Bryant.
Children play basketball at the "House of Kobe" gym, built in honor of Bryant. Maria Tan/AFP via Getty Images

Children look at a memorial wall for Bryant near the "House of Kobe" gym built in honour of his 2016 visit to the Philippines, in Manila.
Children look at a memorial wall for Bryant near the "House of Kobe" gym built in honour of his 2016 visit to the Philippines, in Manila. Maria Tan/AFP via Getty Images

Fans place flowers and candles at the "House of Kobe" gym.
Fans place flowers and candles at the "House of Kobe" gym. Maria Tan/AFP via Getty Images

5:55 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

"A genius like few others has left us"

Bryant inspired countless sports stars across the world. A number of the world's greatest soccer players have written emotional messages on social media following the NBA great's death.

Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba wrote on Twitter: "Heroes come and go. Legends are for ever."

Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi posted a picture of Bryant on Instagram and wrote: "I don't have words... All of my love for Kobe's family and friends. It was a pleasure knowing him and to share good moments together. A genius like few others has left us."

5:36 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Gauff writes on her tennis shoes

Several other tennis players in Melbourne have also paid tribute to Bryant and his daughter, Gianni, who also died in the helicopter crash.

Coco Gauff wrote on her trainers in tribute to Bryant
Coco Gauff wrote on her trainers in tribute to Bryant Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

US doubles teammates Catherine McNally and Coco Gauff -- the 15-year-old who beat Venus Williams and former world No.1 Naomi Osaka last week -- wrote "RIP Kobe," "RIP Gigi," and "Mamba mentality" on their shoes.

They also wrote the numbers 8 and 24 -- Bryant's jersey numbers -- on their shoes.

Osaka also took to social media to pay tribute to Bryant.

"Thank you for inspiring people everywhere, you have no idea how many hearts you've touched," she posted on Twitter. "You will forever be my big bro/mentor/inspiration. Love you."

5:27 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Kyrgios pays tribute to Kobe Bryant at Australian Open

A spectator wears a Kobe Bryant jersey at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 27, 2020.
A spectator wears a Kobe Bryant jersey at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 27, 2020. Greg Wood/AFP via Getty Images

Spectators and tennis players at the Australian Open, in its eighth day in Melbourne, paid tribute to Kobe Bryant on Monday.

Nick Kyrgios warmed up wearing Kobe Bryant's No.8 LA Lakers jersey, ahead of his fourth round match against Rafael Nadal.

The Australian seemed tearful as he walked on court, covering his face with his left hand.

Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images
Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images

Nick Kyrgios of Australia at the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 27, 2020.
Nick Kyrgios of Australia at the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 27, 2020. Hannah Peters/Getty Images

4:16 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Who were the other victims in the helicopter?

From CNN's Christina Maxouris and Artemis Moshtaghian

Nine people died in the helicopter crash that killed basketball legend Kobe Bryant -- including his daughter, Gianna, and her basketball teammate.

While police have not released the names of the people on board, family members of some victims have confirmed their loved ones' deaths. Here are the emerging names and faces:

John Altobelli speaking to players.
John Altobelli speaking to players.

Altobelli family:

Orange Coast College (OCC) baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri and daughter, Alyssa were aboard the helicopter, said Altobelli's brother Tony.

Gianna and Alyssa were teammates at the Mamba Academy, and Altobelli would "routinely" fly with his daughter to attend the games, said OCC assistant coach Ron La Ruffa.

Altobelli, 56, leaves behind a son and daughter, according to an OCC Pirate Athletics news release.

"There were two sides to John," Tony Altobelli said. "People saw him on the baseball field, he's gritty and tough as nails kind of guy but the other side of him, he was one of the biggest-hearted people you'll meet in your life. He cared about his players, cared about his school."

A coach and mother:

Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball school at a K-8 private school in Orange County also died in the crash.

"My kids and I are devastated," her husband, Matt Mauser, wrote on Facebook. "We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash. Please respect our privacy. Thank you for all the well wishes they mean so much."
3:47 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Outpouring of grief in Asia: "You're our faith, our youth"

From CNN's Nectar Gan and Emiko Jozuka

The shock of Kobe Bryant's death was felt as far away as China, where fans mourned his passing along with millions of others across Asia.

Chinese NBA-mania: Within hours of his death, his death became one of the most-searched topics on Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform, where he had nine million followers. Tens of thousands of fans have left tributes and messages of mourning on his Weibo account.

A whole generation of Chinese basketball fans grew up watching Bryant. He enjoyed unparalleled popularity as an icon of their youth, when basketball surged in popularity as the country opened up.

"You're our faith, you're our youth. You're no one else, you're yourself," wrote one user on Weibo, referring to a popular quote from Bryant -- "I don't want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant."

Philanthropy in Japan: In 2011, Bryant fronted an American Red Cross campaign to raise support for survivors of the tsunami and earthquake disaster that rocked Japan's northern region of Tohoku.

"The NBA family starts with the people of Japan, the survivors of the earthquake and the Pacific tsunami," said Bryant in the campaign video -- now being shared widely again on Twitter.

Read more here about Bryant's impact in Asia, from Taiwan to the Philippines.

3:38 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Here's what you need to know

People gather around a makeshift memorial for Kobe Bryant in front of Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 26, 2020.
People gather around a makeshift memorial for Kobe Bryant in front of Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 26, 2020. APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images

Basketball icon Kobe Bryant died on Sunday in a helicopter crash, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.

Here's what happened:

  • Fatal crash: Bryant and his daughter were among 9 people in the helicopter who died when it crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, California. Bryant and Gianna had been expected at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball game.
  • The other victims: Officials have not identified the victims, but some victims' loved ones are coming forward. Tony Altobelli told CNN his brother, Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, John's daughter Alyssa and wife Keri were killed in the crash. Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach at Harbor Day School, was also killed, her husband said.
  • Bad flying weather: There was extremely low visibility at the time of the crash, with foggy, cloudy conditions. LA Police grounded its helicopters Sunday morning, and a police spokesperson said the weather conditions did not meet the minimum standards for flying.
  • Ongoing investigation: The Federal Aviation Authority, National Transportation Safety Board, and FBI are investigating the crash.
  • The world mourns: Bryant's death sparked an outpouring of grief and tributes around the world -- everyone from current and former NBA players, to fans worldwide and even former President Barack Obama.
3:27 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Mayor of Kobe, Japan, says Kobe Bryant has a "special place" in hearts of Kobe people

From CNN's Junko Ogura and Yoko Wakatsuki

Kobe Bryant greets junior basketball players in Tokyo in September 2006.
Kobe Bryant greets junior basketball players in Tokyo in September 2006. TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images

The Japanese city of Kobe, after which Kobe Bryant was named, paid tribute to the basketball star after his death on Sunday.

Kobe Mayor Kizo Hisamoto offered his condolences in a statement on Monday:

"Our city had the good fortune of crossing paths with Kobe Bryant as his father named him after the city, given his love of Kobe beef.
Due to this connection with our city, Bryant came to visit the Kobe government office in 1998 to make a donation for the charity. And between 2001 to 2011, he became the city’s ambassador and told the world about us. 
Kobe Bryant was an international superstar, who also held a special place for the people of Kobe city.
We would once again like to express our gratitude for the support Kobe Bryant gave to this city and offer our heartfelt condolences.”
2:59 a.m. ET, January 27, 2020

Kobe Bryant leaves behind a business empire that stretched beyond the basketball court

From CNN's Clare Duffy and Alexis Benveniste

Kobe Bryant in New York on October 4, 2011.
Kobe Bryant in New York on October 4, 2011. Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant's legacy extends beyond his time on the basketball court. He was also known to the business world as a brand-builder; an investor; and a coach to other athletes and company founders.

Here's a look back at his business empire:

  • Venture capital: In 2013, Bryant co-founded venture capital firm Bryant Stibel along with Web.com founder Jeff Stibel. It now has more than $2 billion in assets, with investments in dozens of technology, media and data companies.
  • Personal investments: Bryant also made millions of dollars on his investment in sports drink Body Armor.
  • Media: In 2016, Bryant founded Granity Studios, a media company that focuses on creative storytelling around sports. Through this company, he wrote and narrated an Academy Award-winning short film in 2018.
  • The Black Mamba brand: Bryant was known in basketball as "Black Mamba," and he launched a youth basketball league called the Mamba League to give hundreds of kids free access to the sport. Bryant also created the Mamba Sports Academy to provide athletic and lifestyle training at all levels in a number of sports.
  • Nike partnership: Bryant first signed a deal with Nike in 2003, helping the shoe company solidify its position in the basketball world. As Bryant's success on the court grew, so too did his Nike partnership.
  • Other brands: Bryant also had endorsement deals with a number of other brands throughout his career, including McDonald's (MCD), Sprite, Nintendo (NTDOF) and Turkish Airlines.

Read more here.