The world has reacted with an outpouring of grief following shocking news of NBA legend Kobe Bryant's death.

NBA players, celebrities, Barack Obama and the wider public took to social media to mourn the loss of the 41-year-old superstar, with many saying they were in "shock" and wished the news was false.

Bryant and his teenage daughter Gianna were among nine people who died when a helicopter they were travelling in crashed into hills in Calabasas, California.

An emotional LeBron James was photographed getting of the Lakers' plane. Photo / Supplied
An emotional LeBron James was photographed getting of the Lakers' plane. Photo / Supplied

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Basketball stars like Donovan Mitchell, Dwyane Wade, Joel Embiid and NFL icon Tom Brady were among many to express their shock at the unfathomable news.

The Legend of Kobe Bryant. Remembering an icon's greatest plays. Video / Bleacher Report. Photo / AP

LeBron James, who recently paid tribute to Bryant after overtaking him on the list of the NBA's greatest ever point-scorers to move into third, was shown breaking down as he disembarked the LA Lakers' team plane, wiping away tears and hugging loved ones.

Bryant's former Lakers teammate turned NBA pundit Shaquille O'Neal also posted an emotional tribute on social media, as did former US President Barack Obama.

Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas after a fire broke out on his private helicopter, TMZ first reported.

Emergency personnel responded, but all five people on-board were killed. TMZ later reported Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria, also died in the crash.

A Kobe Bryant fan leaves flowers at a small memorial at the entrance of the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California following his death in a helicopter crash. Photo / AP
A Kobe Bryant fan leaves flowers at a small memorial at the entrance of the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California following his death in a helicopter crash. Photo / AP

Bryant's wife Vanessa was not among those on board.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. Authorities have not confirmed the identities of those killed.

Bryant starred for two decades with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five championships and being named an All-Star 18 times before retiring in 2016.

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