Michael Jordan has paid tribute to "little brother" Kobe Bryant after his fellow NBA legend died in a helicopter crash.
Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people on board a helicopter that crashed in Calabasas, a city in California, on Sunday.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed Bryant and Gianna, who also played basketball, died in the incident after the news was initially reported by American outlet TMZ .
Bryant, who spent his whole NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, will go down in history as a great of the game.
Jordan said in a statement released through his manager that Bryant was like family to him.
"I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe's and Gianna's passing," Jordan said.
“Words can't describe the pain I'm feeling. I loved Kobe - he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often and I will miss those conversations very much.
“He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply - and took great pride in his daughter's love for the game of basketball.”
"Yvette [Jordan's wife] joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa [Bryant's wife], the Lakers organisation and basketball fans around the world."