In a multi-part Twitter thread, Garcetti called Bryant a heroic figure who transcended the game of basketball and inspired people with his “incomparable skill on the court.”
He continued, “Kobe Bryant was a giant who inspired, amazed, and thrilled people everywhere with his incomparable skill on the court – and awed us with his intellect and humility as a father, husband, creative genius, and ambassador for the game he loved.”
The 48-year-old mayor added that Bryant “will live forever in the heart of Los Angeles, and will be remembered through the ages as one of our greatest heroes.”
He also wrote, “This is a moment that leaves us struggling to fund words that express the magnitude of shock and sorrow we are all feeling right now, and I am keeping Kobe’s entire family in my prayers at this time of unimaginable grief.”
Bryant, an 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, died in a helicopter crash near Calabasas -- about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Bryant lived in South of Los Angeles in coastal Orange County for much of his adult life, and often used helicopters to avoid Southern California’s notorious traffic. He kept up the practice after retirement to attend to his business ventures.
Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and as many as seven others on board the helicopter were killed in the crash, according to multiple reports.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.