Kobe Bryant: 'Big Bang Theory' Star Kaley Cuoco Says She Was 'Completely Gutted' by Lakers Icon's Death

Following Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant's death on Jan. 26, former The Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco shared an emotional tribute to the basketball legend. Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others died in a helicopter crash two weeks ago in Calabasas, California. Bryant, 41, spent 20 seasons with the Lakers, winning five NBA championships before his retirement in 2016.

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"Been sitting here for a few hours completely gutted by this news... Kobe - this one is gonna hurt for a long long time," Cuoco wrote on Jan. 26. "I feel so lucky being able to witness your brilliance courtside so many times including your record scoring game."

"I loved basketball because of you," she continued. "I compared every athlete to you. You made your mark on this earth and will always be the GOAT. My future children will know it was you!! Deepest prayers for Kobe, GiGi, Vanessa their 3 daughters, the entire Bryant family and the additional lives that were also lost in today's tragedy."

Bryant's death was followed by countless emotional tributes, many from Los Angeles-based celebrities who saw Bryant play at the Staples Center. One particularly touching tribute came from actor Jonah Hill, who shared a story about seeing Bryant play with his late brother, music manager Jordan Feldstein.

"I hesitate to post this as it's usually connected to humor," Hill wrote on Instagram, alongside a photo of himself with Bryant in the background. "But for me this photo represents a LOT more. I'm sitting next to my brother and he's taking this. It was the night we both met Kobe and he was so nice to us. So funny, so amazing and so kind (in the middle of a game!). My brother and I grew up worshiping the Lakers and because of my job we got to sit next to Kobe and the whole team!"

"I have lived a privileged life. Truly," Hill continued. "We were literally buzzing with excitement to meet our hero and it's one of my favorite memories ever. It's my favorite memory with my brother. I'm sitting between Kobe and my brother and now they're both gone."

"I don't think Kobe or my brother are resting," Hill later added. "I think they're hustling up there. Working hard and getting s— done. Cuz that's what they do. All my love to the ones here left behind. Take care of each other and love each other. That's the lesson I've learned."

The other victims of the helicopter crash were John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, pilot Ara Zobayan and Christina Mauser. They were on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy for a basketball tournament.

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Cuoco starred on The Big Bang Theory and now voices the title character of DC Universe's Harley Quinn series. She will star in HBO Max's The Flight Attendant next.

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