Former President Obama on the Loss of Kobe and Gianna Bryant: 'Nothing Is More Heartbreaking'

Former President Barack Obama spoke about basketball star Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others who perished on January 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

Obama touched on the feelings of loss in the wake of the NBA legend's passing during a speech he delivered at the NBA All-Star Weekend Newsmaker Brunch in Chicago Saturday, as well as that of the recent death of former NBA Commissioner David Stern.

"That loss is something that I know many are still grappling with—particularly Kobe because he was with his daughter and those families, and those children," he said.

"And those of us who have had the joy and privilege of being parents and taking kids to ballgames, and then rooting for our children, and seeing our dreams and hopes passed on to them—nothing is more heartbreaking," Obama continued. "And so I want to offer the NBA family Michelle and my deepest condolences and obviously the families of the Sterns and the Bryants."

CNN reported that the other people who died in the Calabasas crash were Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, John Altobelli, Christina Mauser and helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan.

Lakers Championship Education & Service Project
Former President Barack Obama talks with Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers while filling care packages during a NBA Cares service event at the Boys and Girls Club at THEARC December 13, 2010 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

CNN host Wolf Blitzer shared a clip of the former president's remarks on Instagram.

According to The Hill, Bryant won his last two NBA titles in 2009 and 2010 during Obama's first term as president.

There has been an outpouring of tributes to Bryant since his death; notable athletes such as Peyton Manning and JJ Watt acknowledged Bryant in public appearances. There has been talk of changing the current NBA logo to one featuring Bryant's silhouette.

Matthew Cherry, a former NFL wide receiver who won an Academy Award earlier this month for the animated short film Hair Love, which he wrote and directed, dedicated the award to Bryant.

"May we all have a second act in life as great as [Bryant's] was," Cherry said after receiving the Oscar.

On Saturday, the NBA announced that it would be renaming its Kia NBA All-Star Game MVP Award "permanently" after Bryant, who had won the award a total of 18 times.

"Kobe Bryant is synonymous with NBA All-Star and embodies the spirit of this global celebration of our game," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "He always relished the opportunity to compete with the best of the best and perform at the highest level for millions of fans around the world."