Crown Prince pays tribute to basketball star Kobe Bryant

HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has mourned the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant.

The 41-year-old National Basketball Association (NBA) player died along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other people, when the private helicopter they were travelling in crashed on a Californian hillside on Saturday (25th January).

Tweeting in Arabic and English to his 3.1 million followers, HH said: “We are saddened by the death of US basketball legend Kobe Bryant with his daughter in a tragic accident. We lost a man full of enterprise, who inspired generations. Sincere condolences to his family on the demise of such a star who thrilled fans with his performance and talent.”

LA Lakers player Bryant visited Abu Dhabi’s GEMs American Academy in September 2013 as part of a health and fitness weekend.

The school joined voices on social media in paying tribute to him, saying: GEMSEducation students were fortunate to meet the former NBA player when he visited GEMS American Academy – Abu Dhabi a few years ago. Kobe worked closely with many of our schools in the UAE to promote health and fitness. Our heartfelt condolences to Kobe’s family and friends. Rest in peace to one of the greatest players of all time.”

The five-time NBA champion leaves behind wife, Vanessa, and three daughters.

Also killed in the tragic smash were Ara Zobayan; college baseball coach John Altobelli, wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, also a basketball coach; and mother and daughter, Sarah and Payton Chester.

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