NBA Basketball icon Kobe Bryant, 41, was reportedly killed in a crash of his private helicopter in Calabasas, California, on Sunday.

TMZ reported the Bryant was in his private helicopter with at least three other people when it started to crash.

Pepperdine Graphic, Pepperdine's a student-run newspaper, published a tweet on Sunday that showed an image of the helicopter and smoke in the distance.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department said at least five people died in the crash.

"It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Kobe Bryant and four others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas," Calabasas Mayor Alicia Weintraub said during a press conference .

It was not immediately clear who was onboard with Bryant.

Bryant's use of the private helicopter became famous, as the Los AngelesLakers great used the ride to beat Los Angeles traffic and even help teammates get to doctor appointments .

According to a GQ profile in 2010, Kobe would use the helicopter to fly from his home in Orange County to Lakers home games and elsewhere. Kobe reportedly took advantage of the helicopter to help stay fit for games:

"But sexy as it might seem, Bryant says the helicopter is just another tool for maintaining his body. It's no different than his weights or his whirlpool tubs or his custom-made Nikes. Given his broken finger, his fragile knees, his sore back and achy feet, not to mention his chronic agita, Bryant can't sit in a car for two hours. The helicopter, therefore, ensures that he gets to Staples Center feeling fresh, that his body is warm and loose and fluid as mercury when he steps onto the court."

Bryant's helicopter was a Sikorsky S-76, a type which has had a sterling safety record since its first flight in 1977.

Here is what we know about Bryant's helicopter, and the Sikorsky S-76.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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SEE ALSO: Kobe Bryant, 41, dies in helicopter crash in Calabasas, California