Kobe Bryant dies at 41

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

Updated 3:22 AM ET, Tue January 28, 2020
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8:59 p.m. ET, January 26, 2020

Orange County assistant girls basketball coach killed in helicopter crash along with Kobe Bryant

From CNN’s Jon Passantino 

Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach at a private elementary school in Orange County, has been identified as one of the passengers who died in a helicopter crash Sunday along with Kobe Bryant.

Mauser was an assistant coach at Harbor Day School in Corona Del Mar, California.

“My kids and I are devastated. 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,” Matt Mauser, her husband, wrote on his Facebook page.

Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley tweeted Sunday that Christina Mauser's death has caused "so much pain for so many local families."

8:31 p.m. ET, January 26, 2020

Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men honor Kobe Bryant at the Grammys with a rendition of "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday"

Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

The 62nd annual Grammy awards began with Lizzo saying "this is for Kobe" during her opening performance.

Host Alicia Keys then came on stage and addressed Kobe Bryant's death:

"We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now because earlier today, Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero. And we’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”

The Grammys are taking place at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, where the Lakers play their home games.

“We’d never imagined in a million years that we’d have to start the show like this,” Keys said.

A moment of silence was held before Keys was joined on stage by Boyz II Men for a rendition of "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday."

7:52 p.m. ET, January 26, 2020

President Trump shares more thoughts on the passing of Kobe Bryant

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

President Trump expanded on his thoughts this evening on Kobe Bryant's death.

"Kobe Bryant, despite being one of the truly great basketball players of all time, was just getting started in life. He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future. The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating," Trump tweeted.

Trump tweeted earlier today, calling the news of Bryant's death "terrible."

7:41 p.m. ET, January 26, 2020

Major sports leagues comment on Kobe Bryant's death

The MLB, NFL and NHL all released statements Sunday on Kobe Bryant's death.

8:52 p.m. ET, January 26, 2020

Kobe Bryant's childhood friend and teammate from Italy reacts to his death

From CNN’s Caitlin Hu 

Bryant's 'Cantine Riunite' youth team in the early 1990's in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Bryant is in the top row, third from the left.
Bryant's 'Cantine Riunite' youth team in the early 1990's in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Bryant is in the top row, third from the left.

Davide Giudici, a friend and former childhood teammate of Kobe Bryant, spoke to CNN today about the passing of the NBA legend.

Giudici played with Bryant in the 1990s in the small Italian city of Reggio Emilia. As 11 and 12-year-olds, they practiced several days a week together on Cantine Riunite, a junior basketball team named for a local winemaker of region’s signature sparkling red.

"We had a strong team, but he was better than all of us. At 11 years old, he was already very secure in his power and what he would become,” Giudici, 41, told CNN. “I mean, I think we knew he was going to become a professional basketball player. We didn’t know then that he was going to be one of the biggest stars in the world.”

Kobe's father, Joe Bryant, played in Italy for several years, and was already locally famous when they moved to Reggio Emilia, Giudici said.

“We spent two years with Kobe and he spoke very fluent, very perfect Italian so he was like a friend of ours,” Giudici said.

Kobe Bryant's time in Reggio remains a point of pride for many, the kind of thing that comes up in conversation when people explain where their hometown is. Giudici says that even locals who have no interest in basketball claim Kobe Bryant as their own.

Giudici who is now a graphic designer, but plays locally, said he first found out about Bryant’s death through a flood of messages from friends.

“I saw like 40 Whatsapp messages: ‘Can you believe it? Did you see what happened? Did you hear what happened to Kobe?’” he said.

“My first concern was for his family. And it’s unbelievable, almost comic, that he died bringing his daughter to play basketball,” he said.

 “It’s unbelievable. We are all fragile," Giudici said. "Even if Kobe is like a superstar, a superman, unfortunately we are all fragile.”

7:33 p.m. ET, January 26, 2020

Former President Clinton: "Hillary and I are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant"

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Global Philanthropy Group
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Global Philanthropy Group

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shared their condolences following the death of Kobe Bryant, who they said "lived a very large life in a very short time."

"Hillary and I are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and all those who died in today's helicopter crash. Kobe brought excitement and joy to basketball fans not just in Los Angeles, but all over the U.S. and around the world. He was also a leader off the court, including in his advocacy for young people, especially the vulnerable and homeless — a passion I saw firsthand when I joined him and Vanessa for the opening of a housing project they and their foundation supported. Kobe Bryant lived a very large life in a very short time. But above all, he loved his family. Our prayers are with Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri, and all those who lost loved ones today," the Clintons said.
7:27 p.m. ET, January 26, 2020

Presidential candidates share their condolences on the death of Kobe Bryant

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Vice President Joe Biden and businessman Andrew Yang were among the presidential hopefuls to share their thoughts on the passing of Kobe Bryant today.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar: “I wanted to add I know I just read, President Obama's statement about Kobe Bryant, and just how tragic that is losing his daughter. In that same helicopter crash. And so our thoughts and prayers are with their family."

Mayor Pete Buttigieg: "I just heard about it and I’m shocked, especially shocked that his daughters are reportedly there as well. This is somebody who affected so many fans and supporters, and it’s very difficult to believe." 

Former Vice President Joe Biden:  "As I was getting off the bus to come in, I heard about Kobe Bryant. I didn't know him well, only met him a couple of times. But you know, it makes you realize that you've got to make every day count. Every single – every single day count."

Businessman Andrew Yang: "This is the worst news. Kobe is an all-time great who had his entire life ahead of him. My heart goes out to his family, his fans and the millions of people whose lives he touched. Today Kobe is the greatest of all time."

6:59 p.m. ET, January 26, 2020

Sesame Street honors Kobe Bryant

Children's television show "Sesame Street" tweeted about Kobe Bryant Sunday.

A clip of Bryant's appearance on the hit children's show can be seen here.

6:55 p.m. ET, January 26, 2020

Tiger Woods on Kobe Bryant: "He brought it each and every night on both ends of the floor"

From CNN's David Close

Donald Miralle/Getty Images
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Golf legend Tiger Woods spoke with a reporter about Kobe Bryant's competitive nature Sunday;

“The fire. He burns so competitively hot and desire to win. He brought it each and every night on both ends of the floor. Not too many guys can say that throughout NBA history. He would lock up on D. Obviously, he was dominant on the offensive side. But any time he was in the game, he would take on their best player and shut them down for all 48 minutes. That was one of the more impressive things throughout his entire career. Then when he ruptured his Achilles and went to the foul line and made his shots, that is tough," Woods said.