'Game of basketball is better today': Coach K issues statement about death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter


LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 10: Head coach Mike Krzyzewski gives Kobe Bryant #10 a high five late in the fourth quarter against Argentina in the Men’s Basketball semifinal match on Day 14 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the North Greenwich Arenaon August 10, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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Duke University basketball legend Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski released a statement about the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, 13-year-old Gianna Bryant.

Coach K, the all-time leader in Men's NCAA Basketball wins, said that "....there will never be a greater warrior in our sport" and Bryant was "...an incredibly gifted person who was universally respected."

The full statement below reads:

"We have tragically lost one of the greatest sports figures of our time with the passing of Kobe Bryant. He was an incredibly gifted person who was universally respected. He was in constant pursuit of doing something special and there will never be a greater warrior in our sport. I had the amazing honor of coaching Kobe in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games, and I will always remember how much he cherished representing his country in a first-class manner playing the game he so loved. the game of basketball is better today because of Kobe, and he deserves eternal appreciation for that. This is a devastating loss, made even more tragic by the passing of his daughter, Gianna, and all others on board. The entire Krzyzewski family is saddened as we genuinely loved and admired Kobe. We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife, Vanessa, their daughters Natalia, Bianka, and Capri, and the families of those involved."

Nine people were killed in the crash on a hillside in Calabasas, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. There were no survivors.

The sheriff's department received reports of the downed aircraft just after 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m PT), officials said.

Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Tony Imbrenda said he didn't immediately have any information about whether the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter radioed a distress signal.

"Individuals that saw the aircraft said it was coming down at a fairly significant rate of speed and impacted the ground on the hillside," he told reporters.

Imbrenda said he didn't know where the helicopter came from or where it was headed.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, the FAA said in a tweet.

Pictures taken shortly after the crash showed fog in the area. Sunday morning's weather also included light wind and temperatures in the mid-50s.

Calabasas is about 30 miles west of Los Angeles.

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