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Screen grab: YouTube.com

Singers Jennifer Hudson (left) and Queen Latifah honored the late NBA star Kobe Bryant before the 2020 All-Star game in Chicago over the weekend.

Latifah, 49, performed Stevie Wonder's hit song "Love's in Need of Love Today" at the NBA's Saturday Night Skills competitions. She added a rap verse in honor of Kobe, who died along with his daughter, Gianna, 13, and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on January 26.

Latifah added the verse "Give love a shot / When you do, say 'Kobe' / 24 hours, eight days a week, trophies."

Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Latifah attended the 2020 All-Star game on Sunday with her life partner Eboni Nichols.

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Screen grab: YouTube.com

Jennifer Hudson performed a stirring tribute to Kobe during the NBA All-Star pre-game at the United Center in Chicago on Sunday.

Hudson, 38, was introduced by an emotional Magic Johnson, 60, who led the audience in 8 seconds of silence for Kobe and late NBA Commissioner David Stern, who died in January from complications of a stroke.

The Grammy and Oscar winner performed in front of a giant screen that flashed photos from Kobe's stellar career with the Los Angeles Lakers and touching images of the NBA legend with his daughter.

Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Hudson wore a floor length crushed velvet gown as she performed "For All We Know." Afterwards, she posed with celebrities such as rapper Ludacris, center, and actor Chadwick Boseman, right.

Rap producer Dr. Dre also performed a tribute to Kobe's greatest moments in sports. The Staples Center was temporarily renamed KOBE Center in his video.

Rapper Common performed a song before introducing the All-Stars for Team LeBron James and Team Giannis Antetokounmpo. The team members wore the numbers 2 and 24 for Gianna and Kobe respectively.

A public memorial service will be held for Kobe and Gianna at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 24. But the service is marred with controversy because tickets are being sold for as much as $250 with the proceeds going to Kobe's charity.

Watch Hudson's and Latifah's tributes below.
 

Jennifer Hudson - For All We Know

 

Queen Latifah - Love's in Need of Love Today"

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant and 13-year-old Gianna Bryant were laid to rest two weeks after the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of the NBA legend, his daughter and seven others.

A private funeral for Kobe, 41, and Gianna was held in Corona Del Mar, California on Friday, Friday 7, according to multiple reports.

Kobe and his daughter were laid to rest near each other at Pacific View Memorial Park, according to published reports.

The Los Angeles Times cited death certificates released by the county which gives the date of internment as Feb. 7.

Sources tell Entertainment Tonight Kobe's wife, Vanessa Bryant, 37, and the family "wanted a private service to mourn their loss".

A planned memorial will be held for the public at Los Angeles' Staples Center on Feb. 24. It is not clear if Kobe's family will attend the public memorial.

Photo by David Livingston / WENN

Vanessa and Kobe are pictured in 2005, a year before daughter Gigi was born. They are pictured below in 2007 with daughters Gigi and Natalia Bryant at Disneyland.

Photo by Adriana M. Barraza / WENN

On Monday, over 1,000 people attended a memorial service for three members of the Altobelli family, who also died in the crash. 4,000 people were expected to attend the service for John, Kelly and Alyssa Altobelli at Angel Stadium.

Photo by Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.com

Vanessa Bryant opened up about her grieving process, saying her "brain refuses to accept" both her husband Kobe Bryant, 41, and 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant are gone.

Kobe and Gianna, along with seven others, died in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California 2 weeks ago.

Photo by Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.com

In an emotional Instagram post alongside video of Gigi and her teammates Payton Chester, 13, and Allysa Altobelli, 14, who also died in the crash, Vanessa, 37, wrote the "nightmare" just feels "wrong."

"I've been reluctant to put my feelings into words," she said. "My brain refuses to accept that both Kobe and Gigi are gone. I can't process both at the same time."

She continued: "It's like I'm trying to process Kobe being gone but my body refuses to accept my Gigi will never come back to me. It feels wrong.

"Why should I be able to have that opportunity?! I'm so mad. She had so much life to live. Then I realize I need to be strong and be here for my 3 daughters. Mad I'm not with Kobe and Gigi but thankful I'm here with Natalia, Bianka and Capri."

Photo by WENN.com

Vanessa said she is sharing her thought process with her followers "in case there's anyone out there that's experienced a loss like this. God I wish they were here and this nightmare would be over. Praying for all of the victims of this horrible tragedy. Please continue to pray for all."

Vanessa shared the post hours before a stadium memorial for the three members of the Altobeli family who died in the crash. 4,000 mourners are expected to attend the memorial.

It is not clear if Vanessa will be in attendance.
 

View this post on Instagram

I’ve been reluctant to put my feelings into words. My brain refuses to accept that both Kobe and Gigi are gone. I can’t process both at the same time. It’s like I’m trying to process Kobe being gone but my body refuses to accept my Gigi will never come back to me. It feels wrong. Why should I be able to wake up another day when my baby girl isn’t being able to have that opportunity?! I’m so mad. She had so much life to live. Then I realize I need to be strong and be here for my 3 daughters. Mad I’m not with Kobe and Gigi but thankful I’m here with Natalia, Bianka and Capri. I know what I’m feeling is normal. It’s part of the grieving process. I just wanted to share in case there’s anyone out there that’s experienced a loss like this. God I wish they were here and this nightmare would be over. Praying for all of the victims of this horrible tragedy. Please continue to pray for all.

A post shared by Vanessa Bryant ? (@vanessabryant) on

Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Vanessa Bryant remembered her late daughter Gianna in a heartbreaking post on Instagram on Wednesday, as her high school held a ceremony to officially retire the 13-year-old's jersey.

Gianna, who died in a helicopter crash with her father, Kobe Bryant, and seven others last month, was remembered by her school friends and basketball teammates at Harbor Day middle school on Wednesday.

Gianna had worn the number 2 jersey as a starter on the Harbor Day girls basketball team and the Mamba Sports Academy girls basketball team.

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Photo by Instagram.com/@VanessaBryant

Gianna was the second daughter born to Vanessa and Kobe Bryant in 2006, after Vanessa suffered a miscarriage the year before. Gigi is seen here with her mom and older sister, Natalia.

Vanessa, 37, shared photos and videos from the ceremony on Instagram, writing: "My Gianna. God I miss you. I’ve been so lucky to have woken up to see your gorgeous face and amazing smile for 13 years. Wish it would’ve been until my last breath. Mommy loves you to the moon and back. Infinity plus 1. #2 #Mambacita #GigiBryant."

She also later shared a snap of Gianna's framed jersey, writing: "My Gigi. I love you! I miss you. You’ve taught us all that no act of kindness is ever too small. Mommy is still and will ALWAYS be so proud of you mamacita. #2."

According to WENN.com, a group of the school's 6th and 7th graders gathered together to sing Maroon 5's hit song "Memories" in tribute to Gianna.

The group's frontman Adam Levine shared a video of the emotional moment on Twitter.com.

"It's important to cry. It’s important to sing. It's important to love so hard and hold on so tightly for as long as we can. Now more than ever. #GIRLDAD," the dad of two daughters wrote, referencing Kobe's now famous quote that he was proud to be a "girl dad", as the father of four daughters with Vanessa.
 


 

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The bodies of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant were reportedly released to their family following their tragic deaths last month.

According to Us Weekly, the remains were released by the Los Angeles County coroner's office on Sunday, Feb. 2, in preparation for their funeral - expected to take place next week.

Photo by KIKA/WENN.com

Kobe, 41, and Gianna, 13, were among nine people killed when their helicopter crashed into a hillside in dense fog on Jan. 26. They were remembered in various ways at Super Bowl LIV in Miami on Sunday, WENN.com reports.

Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Images of Kobe and Gianna, as well as Pro Football Hall of Famer Chris Doleman, who died last week, were shown on big screens as the crowd fell silent.

Later, singers Jennifer Lopez and Shakira paid tribute to Kobe during their Halftime Show, when an overhead shot of the field during a performance of Jennifer's "Let's Get Loud" showed a huge cross lit up in purple and yellow - the colors of Kobe's former team, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Island Express Helicopters, the charter service that employed Kobe's pilot, Ara Zobayan, are under investigation following reports that Zobayan, 50, was not as experienced flying under instrument rules only.

According to the FAA, Island Express's pilots were authorized to fly under visual flight rules only, meaning they had to be able to clearly see the ground and other aircraft while in the air.

Island Express has grounded their fleet of six Sikorsky S-76B choppers until the investigation is completed. The company was involved in four helicopter crashes previously.

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Photos: Getty Images, Facebook

Island Express Helicopters, the charter company that employed Kobe Bryant's pilot, has grounded its fleet of choppers as the FAA reports pilot Ara Zobayan was not cleared to fly in dense fog conditions.

Zobayan, 50, piloted the chopper that was chartered to carry Kobe, 41, his daughter Gianna, 13, and six other passengers from Newport Beach to Camarillo.

The tower lost contact with Zobayan about 2 minutes after warning him that he was too low to be tracked on radar.

The chopper descended rapidly and flew at top speed into a hillside near Calabasas. The crash left debris scattered over 500 feet.

The company which owns six Sikorsky S-76B choppers grounded its fleet as the investigation into Sunday's tragic crash continues.

Zobayan, who was licensed to fly under instrument rules, didn't have the legal authority to fly in fog because the company didn't have necessary certification.

Pilot Kurt Deetz, who previously ferried Kobe to destinations in the same helicopter, said Zobayan wasn't as experienced flying under instruments only.

Deetz said the pilot likely didn't have experience flying with instruments only because of the company's operating limitations.

"There is only one way you can be in the clouds, on an I.F.R. (instrument flight rules) flight plan or by accident," Deetz said.

Air traffic controllers at Burbank Airport had given Zobayan special visual flight rules clearance to fly with lower visibility due to the foggy conditions. The visibility that day was 3-5 miles - enough distance to see obstacles in front of his windscreen.

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Photo: State of Illinois

The Sikorsky S-76B is the largest and most luxurious helicopter. It is favored by celebrities and wealthy executive clients because of the roomy cabin. The same chopper with a different tail number was previously owned by the state of Illinois (pictured).

Island Express specialized in short hops from Long Beach, California to Catalina Island. A one-way ticket for a 15 minute trip to Catalina Island cost anywhere from $75 to $150 per passenger.

Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant's cause of death was revealed by the Los Angeles coroner's office on Wednesday night.

Bryant, 41, his daughter, Gianna Bryant, 13, and seven others died in a suspicious helicopter crash on Sunday, Jan. 26.

The coroner said all of the victims died from "blunt trauma" in a high impact crash. The manner of death was listed as an "accident."

All 9 bodies were identified through DNA and fingerprints, the coroner's office confirmed.

"Through the use of DNA and fingerprints, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner has identified all nine of the victims who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday," the statement said.

"On Tuesday body examinations were performed on all nine decedents. Their causes of death were certified as blunt trauma. The manner of death was certified as accident."

The other victims were identified as John Altobelli, 56, Alyssa Alobelli, 14, Keri Altobelli, 46, Sarah Chester, 45, Payton Chester, 13, Christina Mauser, 38, and the pilot Ara Zobayan, 50.

The coroner's report was released hours after Kobe's widow, Vanessa Bryant, 37, posted an emotional statement on Instagram.com.

"There aren't enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have then in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I'm not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it's impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way."

 

View this post on Instagram

My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever. Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality. To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org. To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org. Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family ??

A post shared by Vanessa Bryant ? (@vanessabryant) on

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Screengrab: Instagram.com/@Vanessabryant

Kobe Bryant's widow, Vanessa Bryant shared her grief and heartache in an emotional statement published on Instagram.com.

The post accompanied a family portrait showing the 41-year-old Lakers legend smiling with Vanessa and their four daughters - 13-year-old Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, who died with her father in a helicopter crash on Sunday; 17-year-old Natalia, Bianka, 2, and infant Capri.

Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

"My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who've shown support and love during this horrific time," the statement read.

"Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe -- the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna -- a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.

"There aren't enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have then in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I'm not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it's impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way."

Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images

Vanessa's heartfelt message was posted Wednesday on Vanessa's Instagram account, which was recently made public for the first time since the crash.

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The grieving widow changed her Instagram.com profile photo to this image of Kobe and his Gianna embracing during the 2016 NBA All-Star game in Toronto.

Vanessa shared a link to the foundation she set up, the Mamba Sports Foundation, for public donations "to help support the other families affected by this tragedy.

Also killed in the crash were college baseball coach John Altobelli, 56; his wife, Keri; and their daughter Alyssa Altobelli, who played on the same basketball team with Gianna. Another young basketball player, Payton Chester, was also killed along with her mother, Sarah Chester; and Christina Maurer, a girls basketball coach at Harbor Day School, a private elementary school.

Photo by Chris Weeks/Liaison

Kobe and Vanessa, 37, met on the set of a music video when she was 16. He was already an NBA superstar when they met. He caused such a commotion when he picked her up from high school that the administration banned him from the school campus. They married when he was 22 and she was 18 in 2001.

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Their eldest daughter Natalia, pictured left, was born 2 years later. Vanessa suffered a miscarriage in 2005, and Kobe blamed himself. Vanessa never got over the shame of his arrest for raping a Colorado woman in 2003.

The Bryants were overjoyed when Gianna (right) came along a year later. Kobe and Gigi became inseparable and she shared his passion for basketball.

The Lakers organization issued a statement on Twitter.com:

"We are devastated and have been forever changed by the sudden loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. We send our love to Vanessa, the Bryant family, and to the families of the other passengers.

"Words cannot express what Kobe means to the Los Angeles Lakers, our fans, and our city. More than a basketball player, he was a beloved father, husband, and teammate. Their love and light will remain in our hearts forever."

The Lakers organization also asked the public to donate to the foundation. Kobe fans criticized the organization for soliciting funds from grieving fans.

"Why is a billion dollar foundation asking the public for monies? Why not fund it yourself?" wrote one social media user. Others opined that Kobe was worth hundreds of millions of dollars when he died. His sponsor, Nike, and the Lakers are billion dollar corporations.

The request for public donations comes at a time when NBA fans - many of whom are not millionaires - are still reeling from the news of Kobe's death.
 

View this post on Instagram

My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever. Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality. To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org. To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org. Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family ??

A post shared by Vanessa Bryant ? (@vanessabryant) on

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Photo by Instagram.com/@shaunieoneal5

Shaquille O'Neal's ex-wife Shaunie O'Neal posted the last photo she took of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant watching O'Neal's daughter Mearah O'Neil (#17) playing in a basketball tournament on Saturday.

Gianna sat on a bench while her famous father stood nearby in a lounge area overlooking the basketball court.

The photo was taken at Bryant's Mamba Sports facility in Thousand Oaks, California on Saturday, Jan. 25.

Father and daughter were on a helicopter along with seven others when the chopper went down at 9:47 a.m. Sunday. They were heading to the sports facility when the helicopter crashed in the hills above nearby Calabasas.

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Bryant and Gianna shared a special bond. The two were inseparable. Friends say he was thrilled that "Gigi" shared his love for basketball.

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

A former coach and family friend said Bryant's family is "struggling" and they will miss him "more than you can begin to imagine."

The chopper went down in extremely foggy conditions minutes after an air traffic controller told the pilot he was flying too low to be tracked.

The pilot, Ara Zoboyan, was flying under special visual flight rules (SVFR), meaning he was given permission to fly in worse weather conditions than visual flight rules (VFR) allow.

SVFR is only issued when the visibility is 1,000 feet above ground level. Flying low to the ground is very risky even under normal conditions.

The helicopter circled over the Burbank airport for about 15 minutes while air traffic control cleared other flights to take off.

Zoboyan's friends say he was qualified to fly in heavy fog and was not one to make mistakes. The pilot had experience flying the military grade helicopter. The Sikorsky S-76B required two pilots, but only one pilot was flying that day.

The Sikorsky S-76B chopper was 29 years old and had twin engines. Another pilot who flew the same helicopter said the crash occurred due to weather conditions.

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Photos by BACKGRID

Kim Kardashian skipped the Grammy Awards to attend a midnight Sunday Service in honor of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others who perished in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning.

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Bryant, 41, Gianna and seven others were killed when a helicopter went down in the hills above Calabasas, California in extremely foggy conditions. The crash site is located behind Kourtney Kardashian's Calabasas home.

Bryant and Gianna are survived by his wife Vanessa and their daughters Natalia, Bianca and infant Capri, who was born last summer.

Photo by BACKGRID

Kardashian, 39, was seen leaving the memorial service which took place on Sunday night, hours after the NBA legend died.

The mother of four dressed conservatively in a grey satin wrap skirt and top for the service. She shared videos of the service on her Instagram page, with gospel singer Kirk Franklin telling the crowd: "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

She captioned the video: "I needed to hear this."

Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Kardashian and her husband Kanye West knew Bryant and his wife Vanessa Lane Bryant personally.

Photo by BACKGRID

Hours before the Sunday Service began, Kardashian posted a photo of Bryant and his daughter Gianna on Instagram along with the caption:

"My heart is so heavy. No one should ever experience was Vanessa is going through. This has affected us all so much but I cannot begin to imagine what Vanessa is feeling losing her husband and baby girl."

Kardashian's younger sister Khloe Kardashian, 35, tweeted: "This can't be real, there's no way!!! My heart hurts." In another tweet, she wrote: "Please don't let this be True. I'm shaking."

Chance the Rapper performed alongside the Sunday Service Choir.

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Photos: C-Span, J. Emilio Flores/Getty Images

A Washington Post journalist was suspended after she tweeted about Kobe Bryant's rape case hours after the Los Angeles Lakers legend and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, died along with seven others in a fiery helicopter crash in extremely foggy conditions on Sunday, Jan. 26.

Felicia Sonmez, a political reporter for the Post, linked to a 2016 newspaper story about Bryant's alleged rape of a 19-year-old Colorado woman. The sexual assault charge against Bryant was later dropped.

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Sonmez complained that she received "abuse and death threats" from thousands of Bryant fans after she tweeted the link to a Daily Beast story.

She commented:

"Well, THAT was eye-opening. To the 10,000 people (literally) who have commented and emailed me with abuse and death threats, please take a moment and read the story - which was written 3+ years ago and not by me."

She continued:

"Any public figure is worth remembering in their totality, even if that public figure is beloved and that totality unsettling. That folks are responding with rage and threats toward me (someone who didn't even write the piece but found it well-reported) speaks volumes about the pressure people come under to stay silent in these cases."

The reaction was swift, as many Bryant fans labeled Sonmez a "terrible person" and generated the hashtag #firefeliciasonmez.

One Twitter user wrote: @washingtonpost @JeffBezos you can't possibly continue to employ this classless, unsympathetic, and unremorseful a person as @feliciasonmez. I don't agree with cancel culture but this is an exception."

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Another reporter for MSNBC also came under fire when she made a Freudian slip and said "ni**er" while covering the tragic crash.

The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant's daughter Gianna Maria Onore Bryant, 13, died with him and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA on Sunday morning.

The chopper went down at 9:45 a.m. local time. There were no survivors.

Bryant was heading to his Mamba Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks, CA to coach his daughter Gianna's 8th grade basketball team in a tournament. One or more of Gianna's teammates was among the 9 killed in the crash.

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

In addition to Gianna, Bryant, 41, and his wife Vanessa share three other daughters - Natalia, Bianca and toddler Capri.

Bryant's private twin engine Sikorsky S-76 helicopter had taken off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. The conditions were "extremely foggy" at the time.

Eyewitnesses tell TMZ the helicopter's engine sputtered before it spiraled to the ground. The crash occurred on a hillside behind the home of reality TV personality Kourtney Kardashian.

Among the dead was John Altobelli, a baseball coach at Orange Coast College.

Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Bryant is pictured in 2018 with wife Vanessa and their daughters Natalia, 2nd from right, and Gianna, right.

Vanessa was not on board. Ex-Laker Rick Fox confirmed he was not among those killed in the crash, as rumors suggested.

A memorial to the Lakers legend is forming outside the Staples Center where he spent his entire 20-year career playing for the Lakers.

Bryant's death came one day after his NBA all-time scoring record was passed by Lakers forward LeBron James (left). Bryant is now #4 on the all-time scoring list behind James.

Photo: VINCENT LAFORET/AFP via Getty Images

NBA legend Michael Jordan, 56, paid tribute to Bryant in a statement:

"I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe and Gianna's passing. Words cannot describe the pain I am feeling. I loved Kobe. He was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often and I will miss those conversations very much. 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 and took great pride in his daughter's love for the game of basketball. Yvette joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organization and basketball around the world."