Athletes, politicians and sports fans around the world paid tributes Monday to basketball legend Kobe Bryant after his death in a helicopter crash.
He will be mourned for a week in Italy, where he lived between the ages of 6 and 13 while his father played for several Italian basketball teams.
In China, where basketball rivals soccer as the nation’s most popular sport, fans paid their respects on the microblogging website, Weibo, with many comments accompanied by photos of Bryant and his daughter Gianna and the letters R.I.P.
Chinese professional basketball player and former NBA player Yi Jianlian posted on Weibo: "Thank you! Kobe! Hope father and daughter continue to enjoy basketball in heaven! We will always remember you! Rest in peace to the legend."
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German basketball star Dirk Nowitzki posted an emotional tweet, “This is hitting me really hard. I will always remember coming home after games so I could watch you dominate the fourth quarter.”
At the Australian Open's men's quarterfinal Monday, Australian player Nick Kyrgios walked onto the court wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey before his match against Spain's Rafael Nadal. After winning, Nadal put on a Lakers cap and wiped back tears when asked about Bryant during an interview on the court.
"He has been a true inspiration to the world of sport and for a lot of kids," Nadal said. Some spectators in the crowd could be seen wearing Lakers jerseys.
My heart truly mourns over the news today. Kobe was a great mentor and friend to me. You and your daughter will live forever in our hearts. There are not enough words to express my deepest sympathies to the Bryants and every family suffering from this tragedy. RIP my friend pic.twitter.com/VRmgaOaITT
So sad to hear the heartbreaking news of the deaths of Kobe and his daughter Gianna. Kobe was a true legend and inspiration to so many. Sending my condolences to his family and friends and the families of all who lost their lives in the crash. RIP Legend💔 pic.twitter.com/qKb3oiDHxH