Kobe Bryant, 41, is survived by his wife Vanessa, 37, and three of their four children together: daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months

By Ale Russian
January 27, 2020 10:45 AM
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Kobe Bryant had a special reason for asking famed Star Wars composer John Williams to join him on his Oscar-winning short film venture.

Bryant, who died Sunday in a tragic helicopter crash that also killed his daughter Gianna, 13, created the short animated film Dear Basketball as a love letter to the sport after his retirement. When it came time for the score, Bryant asked Williams to come on board because he had a special connection to his music through his daughters.

“‘Hedwig’s Theme’ [from the Harry Potter movies] puts Natalia to sleep, that has put Gianna to sleep, and now it puts Bianka to sleep,” Bryant told the Los Angeles Times in 2017. “I lay them on my chest and I hum it to them, and the vibrations of it just relaxes them.”

Bryant, 41, is survived by his wife Vanessa, 37, and three of their four children together: daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.

Williams, 87, mourned Bryant’s passing in a statement to The New York Times, calling his death “a terrible and immeasurable loss.”

“During my friendship with Kobe, he was always seeking to define and understand inspiration even while modestly, and almost unknowably, he was an inspiration to countless millions,” Williams said. “His enormous potential contribution to unity, understanding and social justice must now be mourned with him.”

Kobe Bryant and John Williams
| Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty

The NBA legend was reportedly traveling in his private helicopter when it went down, according to TMZ. A rep for Bryant confirmed to TMZ that his daughter, Gianna, was killed in the crash that also killed seven other people.

Emergency personnel responded but none of the nine people onboard survived, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said during a press conference.

Bryant and Williams first met in 2008 when Bryant called Williams for advice once he realized a composer and a basketball player trying to control a game had a lot in common.

“I asked myself a question,” Bryant told the Los Angeles Times. “What makes a John Williams piece timeless? How is he using each instrument? How is he building momentum? As a basketball player, what I found myself doing a lot was essentially conducting a game, right? I wanted to talk to him about how he composed music, and try to find something similar that I can then use to help my game as a leader and winning championships.”