NBA great Kobe Bryant, 41, dies in helicopter crash.

Kobe Bryant, widely considered one of the greatest NBA basketball players, died this morning in helicopter crash.

TMZ was first to report the news, with confirmation coming from the ABC affiliate in Los Angeles.  Five people are reported dead in the Calabasas crash.

Kobe was an 18-time All-Star and five time NBA champion.  He was just passed for third on the all-time NBA scorers list by LeBron James last evening.  — [eric]

[UPDATE #1] —- ESPN is reporting that Bryant’s 13 year old daughter is among the victims, as the two were heading to a travel basketball game together.

[UPDATE #2] —- CNN has reported the number of people who perished in the crash is nine.