Kobe Bryant was traveling in a private helicopter when it burst into flames, according to media reports.
The LA County Sheriff’s department said five people died in the helicopter crash on Sunday, with no survivors.
Confirming the death, the City of Calabasas confirmed the news with “great sadness”. It said, “nobody on the ground was hurt”.
Eyewitnesses told news site TMZ they heard the helicopter’s engine sputtering before it went down.
The cause of the crash is being investigated.
Five-time NBA champion Bryant, 41, played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He retired in April 2016.
Bryant’s achievements include being the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also a two-time NBA scoring champion and a two-time Olympic champion.
The smooth shooting guard, who patterned his game after Michael Jordan, entered the NBA straight out of high school in 1996. By his second season, he had earned his first of 18 all-star selections. By his fourth season, he had teamed with Shaquille O’Neal to win the first of three consecutive championships.