Kobe Bryant is dead: A nation in shock and mourning

PHOTOS: The World mourns NBA legend Kobe Bryant

Meanwhile, heartbroken fans have been pouring into the areas surrounding the site, sending condolences on social media and paying tribute to Bryant, who first made history when he became the youngest player in NBA history.

In Sunday’s news conference, Villanueva said officers had to be deployed to keep crowds away from the residential community near the crash site and “we have to reiterate it is off-limits to everybody.”

Born in Philadelphia, Bryant quickly grew to become one of basketball’s greatest champions. He played his entire professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers and won five NBA championships, before retiring in April 2016 after scoring 60 points inhis final game.

Former Lakers Coach Phil Jackson called the player a “chosen one — special in many ways to many people.”

PHOTOS: The World mourns NBA legend Kobe Bryant
PHOTOS: The World mourns NBA legend Kobe Bryant

“Our relationship as coach/player transcended the norm. He went beyond the veil,” Jackson said.

Bryant leaves behind his wife, Vanessa, and three daughters — the youngest of which was born in June.

CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian, Chloe Melas, Darran Simon, Jon Passantino and Chuck Johnston contributed to this report.