Former President Barack Obama has joined the chorus of celebrities in paying tribute to Kobe Bryant on Twitter. Shortly after Bryant's death in a helicopter crash was confirmed on Sunday, Jan. 26, Obama paid tribute to Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, who was also confirmed to have died in the crash. "Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act," he wrote.
Obama continued his statement with heartfelt condolences on behalf of himself and his wife, Michelle Obama. "To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day." Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who went by Gigi, died early Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Bryant was 41 years old. According to multiple early reports, there were three other people on board the helicopter who also died in the fatal crash, but their identities have yet to be confirmed. In a press conference, the LA County Sheriffs Department said they believed there were nine bodies found on the scene, but could not provide any further comment.
In the meantime, fans of the late basketball players have taken to Twitter to express their sadness and send their condolences to Bryant's wife, Vanessa, and their three young daughters.
Obama and Bryant have been friends for many years. The legendary Lakers player presented the former President with his very own Lakers jersey during a White House visit in 2010 to celebrate the team's National Championship victory. In 20015, Bryant released a sneaker collaboration with Nike called Kobe X Elite "Commander," which was inspired by Obama. Over the years, he reportedly kept in contact with Obama and White House staffers to collaborate on how to have an impact on social issues outside of basketball. "I wanted to know how he got better, from managing his schedule to what he reads," Bryant told Politico in 2017.