BARACK OBAMA PAYS TRIBUTE TO 'LEGEND' KOBE BRYANT AFTER THE NBA STAR'S DEATH

Former President Barack Obama paid tribute to NBA star Kobe Bryant after he died in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday

The crash in Calabasas also claimed Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others

Athletes including Novak Djokovic, Tiger Woods, Shaquille O'Neal, Earvin Magic Johnson and Tristan Thompson also paid tribute to the NBA great

Celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio, Reese Witherspoon, John Legend, Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Kimmel and Kim Kardashian shared condolences


Former President Barack Obama led tributes to NBA star Kobe Bryant after he died in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday, which also claimed his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.


Obama tweeted that Bryant was 'just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act', just hours after the retired Los Angeles Lakers player's Sikorsky S-76 crashed in Calabasas about 10am. 


US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP ALSO PAID TRIBUTE TO BRYANT, WRITING: '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 ADDED. 'MELANIA AND I SEND OUR WARMEST CONDOLENCES TO VANESSA AND THE WONDERFUL BRYANT FAMILY. MAY GOD BE WITH YOU ALL!'

Kobe and Gianna Bryant along with all seven others on board, including sports coaches, two teenage girls, parents and the pilot, died when the helicopter struck the hillside and burst into flames. 


Obama wrote: 'Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa (his wife) and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.' 



Obama tweeted that Bryant was 'just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act', just hours after the retired Los Angeles Lakers player's Sikorsky S-76 crashed in Calabasas about 10am.


US President Donald Trump also paid tribute to Bryant, writing: '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 added.


'Melania and I send our warmest condolences to Vanessa and the wonderful Bryant family. May God be with you all!'


Soccer star David Beckham, who saw out his career playing for LA Galaxy, shared a touching photograph of him with Bryant on the court.


'This was one special athlete, husband, father and friend. Having to write these words is hard enough but also knowing we have lost an amazing human being and his beautiful and talented daughter Gianna is heartbreaking.' Beckham wrote on Instagram.


'My family's love and prayers go out to Vanessa and the girls, to Kobe's basketball family, and of course to the families of those who were tragically lost with him yesterday.'