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Hard work and strength of character made Kobe Bryant a star in Asia

He showed endurance and charity, which endeared him to millions in China

Kobe Bryant is greeted by young Chinese players during his visit to Shanghai in August 2015: the development of his charity represented the strong tie that existed between China and him.   © Reuters

On Sunday, basketball fans around Asia received the tragic news that Kobe Bryant and eight others, including his daughter Gianna, had died in a helicopter crash. Although the untimely deaths of sport stars at a young age, such as motor-racing driver Ayrton Senna or golfer Payne Stewart, have always received wide coverage, the unfortunate passing of Bryant is one that may receive greater attention than usual across Asia.

Even the People's Daily, an official newspaper of the Communist Party of China, posted messages about Bryant's death on its Weibo social media account. In an era with heightened geopolitical tensions, especially between the U.S. and China, Bryant remains an important unifying figure across the world.

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