Monrovia — Liberian President George Manneh Weah says the death of former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant marks a sad day for the sporting world.
"This is not only a sad day for them, but for the entire sports world, as we are all devastated by this tragedy," the President posted on both his Twitter and Facebook pages Sunday.
Mr. Weah, a former world, European and African footballer of the year, declared: "This is a poignant moment for all of us sports enthusiasts; as the world has lost a great soul whose legacy will live on and serve as an inspiration for generations to come. The death of Kobe has left an indelible mark in our hearts, and he will truly be missed."
The Liberian President extended heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy to the families of the others that died as a result of this crash. They are all in our thoughts and prayers.
Kobe, a five-time NBA champion, 17-Times All Star, Olympic Gold Medalist and Oscar winner, was among nine people who perished in a California helicopter crash. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna was also among those in the crash, authorities revealed Sunday, updating an initial death toll of five.
"We have a manifest that indicates that there was nine people on board the aircraft. The pilot plus eight individuals," said Alex Villanueva, the sheriff of Los Angeles County, in an afternoon press briefing.
Villanueva confirmed that an initial review of the crash scene in the hills of Calabasas appeared to confirm nine bodies among the wreckage.
Officials had initially indicated that there were five people aboard the ill-fated Sikorsky S-76. There were no survivors in the crash, which occurred around 10 a.m. local time amid heavy fog in the area, according to officials and reports.
The crash sparked a "stubborn" quarter-acre brush fire, which dozens of emergency responders first had to deal with before they could reach the mangled wreck, according to Chief Daryl Osby of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
For President Weah, Kobe's passing marks a day of sadness: "It is with great sadness that I've learned of the passing of Basketball legend Kobe Bryant & his young daughter Gianna. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, his wife and surviving children, the National Basketball Association - most especially the Los Angeles Lakers organization for the loss of their loved one, friend and colleague."