KEY POINTS

  • President Donald Trump and other presidential candidates react to the death of Kobe Bryant
  • Joe Biden says everyone should "make every day count"
  • Candidate Andrew Yang called Bryant the greatest of all time
  • Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg says the news is "very difficult to believe"

With the Iowa caucus only five days away Saturday, candidates vying for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination set aside politics for a brief instant to share their grief and regret at the tragic death of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash in California Sunday morning. The helicopter slammed into a hillside outside the city of Calabasas on a foggy morning killing all its passengers.

Bryant and his daughter, Gianna or Gigi, were on their way to a basketball game involving Gigi's team in nearby city of Thousand Oaks. Kobe was the coach of Gigi's team.

The Calabasas city government revealed the tragedy in a tweet: "It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Kobe Bryant and four others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. The aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 this morning. Nobody on the ground was hurt. The FAA and NTSB are investigating."

Media first reported four passengers aboard the helicopter. The correct number of passengers is nine persons, as verified by authorities.

Former vice president Joe Biden said he heard of Bryant's death as he was getting off the bus. "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."

Candidate Andrew Yang called Bryant the greatest of all time.

"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."

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, referred to former president Barack Obama's statement regarding Bryant's death. Obama on Sunday tweeted, "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 and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day."

Klobuchar said, “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."

Host US singer-songwriter Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men sing in memory of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant at the start of the Grammys Host US singer-songwriter Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men sing in memory of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant at the start of the Grammys Photo: AFP / Robyn Beck

South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg shared in the expression of condolences. "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."

In another tweet about Bryant's death, president Donald Trump said Sunday, "Melania and I send our warmest condolences to Vanessa and the wonderful Bryant family. May God be with you all!"