Prime Minister Jüri Ratas has expressed his condolences following the death of basketball star Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with eight other people, including Bryant's 13-year-old daughter.
Ratas, known to be a big basketball fan and former player, wrote on his social media page that: " This is a loss for the whole world. I extend my sincere condolences to all the family members, loved ones and admirers of the basketball legend."
"I met Kobe Bryant in Milan in 1997 - we competed as part of an Estonian team in an international street basketball tournament, which he was a patron of."
"He has ever since then been a model of mine, not only for his outstanding talent, but also for his hard work, dedication and caring."
"I will remember and honor this legend of basketball. Rest in peace, Kobe Bryant."
According to media reports which emerged late night on Sunday, Estonian time, Bryant, 41, had been passenger in a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter carrying nine people, which crashed at Calabasas, California, Sunday morning, local time. There were no survivors. Some witnesses reported the helicopter seemed to be experiencing mechanical trouble just before the crash. Bryant was due to attend a basketball game at his Mamba Sports Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks, which his daughter, Gianna, also on board, was due to play in.
Son of former NBA player Joe Bryant, shooting guard Kobe Bryant played his entire professional career with the LA Lakers, and represented the U.S. at the 2008 olympics in Beijing, and the 2012 games in London, winning a gold medal at both. He was an 18-time All Star, was picked for the All-NBA times 12 times, and was the NBA's Most Valuable Player in 2008. Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and three other daughters, one of whom was born in June 2019.
Editor: Andrew Whyte