TORONTO -- Former U.S. President Barack Obama, Drake, Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal are among the thousands sharing their condolences for retired basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna who died in a helicopter crash.

In a tweet, long-time rival and on-court Lakers partner Shaquille O'Neal called Bryant “my brother” and said he felt sick from the news.

“There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW,” he wrote. The post featured several photos of the two together.

NBA legend Michael Jordan also put out a statement which read in part, how he saw Bryant as a “little brother” and how words couldn’t describe the pain he was feeling.

On Twitter, former U.S. President Barack Obama opined about the legacy of the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships.

“Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents,” he wrote. “Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.”

After winning the tip-off, the Toronto Raptors, who played the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, ran out the shot clock on the first possession of the game to honour Bryant.

Pau Gasol, a former teammate of Bryant, tweeted he was "beyond devastated" and "I can't, I just can't believe it.”

Former San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker, who played in the NBA at the same time as Bryant, tweeted, ”I’m heartbroken by this news, you were a true legend, and friend. Rest In Peace @kobebryant, my thoughts and prayers to his wife and kids.”

Former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade was among the thousands of people honouring Bryant online and tweeted, “Nooooooooooo God please No!”

“Bad Boys” star Martin Lawrence tweeted his sadness writing, “At a loss for words. My heart, prayers, and condolences go out to the Bryant family.”

Actress and host of “The View” Whoopi Goldberg voiced her sadness online, writing, “RIP Kobe, hero to many including my grandson, extraordinary athlete and always kind to me & my family. My deepest condolences to his family.”

Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who had Bryant on his show several times, tweeted a long condolence about the NBA legend.

“He was great, charismatic and among the hardest-working athletes ever, but what impressed me most was how deeply-involved Kobe was with his four daughters. Pray for them, Vanessa, his parents & his fellow passengers' families on this sad and shocking day. We will never forget you, Kobe,” he wrote.

Former Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar posted a video tribute on Twitter with the caption, “most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of basketball players. But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement saying how the “NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing” of Bryant and his daughter.

The Toronto Raptors organization and several other basketball clubs released condolences regarding the death of Bryant. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban released a statement announcing the number 24 would be retired at the sports club. He called Bryant an “ambassador for our game” and a “dedicated father.”

Chicago Bulls legend and six-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen wrote on Twitter that he was stunned. “Words can’t even come close to describing it. Just an incredibly sad and tragic day.”

Professional golfer Tiger Woods said he was told the news after finishing a round during the Farmers Insurance Open. “It’s a shocker to everyone. I’m unbelievably sad,” before praising Bryant’s his competitive spirit.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady posted a short tribute online writing, “we miss you already, Kobe.”

Former Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt also took to Twitter to say, “Still can’t believe,” and posted a photo of the two embracing.

In the wake of the news, the Miami Heat issued a statement. "Our hearts are heavy with extreme sadness at this time," it read. "We extend our deepest prayers, thoughts and condolences to the family of Kobe Bryant and those affected in today's tragedy."

Toronto rapper Drake posted a short tribute on Instagram, writing, “it can’t be.” Pop star and singer Boy George wrote “Proper hit by the news about Kobe Bryant and everyone involved. Sad awful sad!”


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Los Angeles Chargers player Justin Jackson tweeted about the impact Bryant had on the sports world in general, writing, “Can’t put into words what this man meant to the sports community. Life is fleeting man.”

Toronto FC forward Josmer Volmy "Jozy" Altidore tweeted, “Kobe Bryant you’re an angel. RIP to you legend. So kind and had time for everyone. The epitome of class and hard work. An Idol. Prayers to his family.”

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, “reports are that basketball great Kobe Bryant and three others have been killed in a helicopter crash in California. That is terrible news!”

“Trailer Park Boys” star Bubbles tweeted, “So sad to hear about Kobe Bryant. My heart goes out to his wife and daughters. #RIPKobeBryant”

Comedian Frank Caliendo tweeted, “I didn’t know Kobe Bryant. I never met him. Yet, I am somehow affected by hearing about his sudden tragic death. I can’t explain it - other than thinking that this makes us all realize our own, and everyone else’s mortality. Truly a shock.”

Bryant’s last tweet was honouring NBA legend LeBron James who had recently passed him on the NBA’s all-time scoring leaderboard on Saturday night.

“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother,” he wrote.