Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tiger Woods paid tribute to Kobe Bryant on Monday, describing the NBA legend as an "incredible athlete" and saying that news of his death had come as a "shocker to everyone".
The former LA Lakers guard, 41, was flying in a private helicopter over Calabasas, California with his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others when it went down and a fire broke out, according to several reports.
All nine people on board died, local police confirmed Sunday.
Abdul-Jabbar, who like Bryant won five NBA championships with the LA Lakers, described Bryant as "an incredible family man" and a "leader" who inspired a generation of athletes.
"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," Abdul-Jabbar said.
Woods, who was told of the news of Bryant's death while playing at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, said it was "unbelievably sad" and "one of the more tragic days" he could recall.
"He burned so competitively hot, the desire to win he brought every night on both ends of the floor, not too many guys can say that. Any time he was in the game he’d take on their best player.
"It's a shocker to everyone, unbelievably sad," said golf's 15-time major winner.