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The 47-year-old basketball player and former teammate of Bryant reacted to the news of the late legend's passing on Sunday.
"There's no words to express the pain I'm going through with this tragedy of [losing] my [niece] Gigi & my brother @kobebryant," O'Neal tweeted along with a series of photos on Sunday. "I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW."
He also later added, "Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gigi was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me'Arah."
Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. on Sunday. He was 41 years old. The aircraft went down in a hillside at around 10:00 a.m. local time that day. Bryant was one of nine people on the helicopter. There were no survivors. His daughter, Gianna "GiGi" Maria-Onore Bryant, was also killed in the crash. She was 13 years old.
Bryant entered the National Basketball Association right out of high school in 1996. He was the youngest player in NBA history at the time. Bryant joined the Los Angeles Lakers that year and played for the team for 20 years before retiring in 2016.
O'Neal also signed with the Lakers in 1996. He played for the team for eight seasons before being traded to the Miami Heat in 2004. According to NBA.com, O'Neal and Bryant helped lead their team to three straight NBA titles from 2000 to 2002.