Middle East basketball fans mourn NBA legend Kobe Bryant

Middle East basketball fans mourn NBA legend Kobe Bryant
Middle East basketball fans mourn NBA legend Kobe Bryant

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Basketball fans across the Middle East have mourned the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant after he and his daughter were victims in a tragic helicopter crash.

Bryant - a basketball hero for the LA Lakers team - died  along with eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Fans across the Middle East paid tribute to the fallen player in emotional tweets.

"To the heavens," one tweeted, posting a cartoon of Bryant with a halo around his head, while shooting a ball up to heaven.

Many recirculated a video of Bryant talking about his deceased daughter Gianna, praising her strength.

"Omg!! RIP my best Kobe Bryant," one reacted to the video, retweeting it with crying emojis.

Palestinian supermodel Gigi Hadid paid tribute to him on her Instagram page in a heartfelt post.

"This is too much. Rest In Peace and love together, legends. Growing up a Kobe fan brought so much joy to my life, like so many, and we were all so excited to see sweet Gigi play someday," she said.

"Sending strength and my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Bryant family, and all the families affected by this tragedy."

Fans also remembered Bryant's trip to the UAE in September 2013. 

He was met by thousands of supporters when he visited schools in Abu Dhabi and other emirates to promote Kobe Bryant Health and Fitness Weekend by attending basketball matches and visiting clinics.

Unknown cause

The helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and eight others went down on a hillside outside Los Angeles was flying in fog.

Local conditions were considered so dangerous that local police agencies grounded their choppers.

The cause of the crash was unknown, but conditions at the time were such that the Los Angeles Police Department and the county sheriff's department grounded their helicopters.

The Los Angeles County medical examiner, Dr. Jonathan Lucas, said the rugged terrain complicated efforts to recover the remains. He estimated it would take at least a couple of days to complete that task before identifications can be made.

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