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Phil Jackson Releases Statement On The Death Of Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson on the Lakers.

SALT LAKE CITY - MAY 09: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with Head Coach Phil Jackson against the Utah Jazz in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2008 NBA Playoffs on May 9, 2008 at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson has released a statement on the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Sunday afternoon.

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine people killed in the tragic accident in Calabasas, California.

Jackson, who coached Bryant for all five of his NBA championships with the Lakers, is understandably heartbroken.

“The crash was a tragedy for multiple families. My heart goes out to Vanessa and the families that lost loved ones. Kobe was a chosen one-special in many ways to many people. Our relationship as coach/player transcended the norm. He went beyond the veil," Jackson said.

Bryant and Jackson won five NBA championships together with the Lakers, winning three straight from 2000-02 and two more in 2009 and '10.

Jackson retired from coaching in 2011. Bryant would go on to play through the 2015-16 season.

Our thoughts remain with everyone affected by today's tragedy.