Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James has posted an emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant following the NBA veteran's death on Sunday.

James took to Instagram to express his feelings after Bryant, daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash in the Los Angeles hills.

Bryant was a five-time NBA champion who played for the Lakers throughout his 20-year career.

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Bryant's final post on Twitter before his death was a message to James, saying: "Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother."

The Lakers' game against city rivals the Clippers was postponed as a mark of respect following the death of Bryant and his daughter. The fixture will now take place at a later date.

"The National Basketball Association game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers scheduled for Tuesday, 28 January at Staples Center has been postponed," a statement from the NBA read.

"The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organisation, which is deeply grieving the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday."

The Lakers made their first public comment since the tragedy with a brief statement on Monday.

"The Los Angeles Lakers would like to thank all of you for the tremendous outpouring of support and condolences. This is a very difficult time for all of us. We continue to support the Bryant family and will share more information as it is available," it said.

The news of Bryant's death sparked an outpouring of grief around the world as tributes flooded in with Michael Jordan, arguably basketball's most famous name, former US president Barack Obama and friend and former England football captain David Beckham among those to pay their respects.

Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva said nine people, including the pilot, had died in the crash but was awaiting the coroner's report before confirming any identities as it would be "inappropriate" to do so.

Thousands gathered in Los Angeles to pay tribute with a vigil outside the Staples Center, home of the shooting guard's Lakers team.

A shrine to Bryant - who became an Oscar winner in 2018 for Best Animated Short Film for Dear Basketball, which he wrote and narrated - has been set up outside the stadium, complete with candles, flowers and photographs from fans.

The light towers surrounding Los Angeles International Airport were illuminated in purple and gold on Sunday, in homage to the colours of Bryant's Lakers jersey.

Los Angeles City Hall was similarly lit up in the famous purple.

Bryant, who was married to wife Vanessa and had three other daughters, Natalia, Bianca and Capri, became an 18-time NBA All-Star during a career that saw him transcend the sport.

He was named the NBA's Most Valuable Player in 2008 and is the fourth highest scorer in the history of the NBA with 33,643 points, pushed down from third by James last Saturday night.

Alongside Shaquille O'Neal, Bryant helped the Lakers win three NBA championships in a row between 2000 and 2002.

Bryant won further NBA titles in 2009 and 2010.