Kobe Bryant was one of five people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California

A banner hangs in the gym at Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia honoring Kobe Bryant among the other members of the school’s 1,000 Point Club. Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant’s alma mater, Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia, issued a statement Sunday about his death.

“This is a difficult day for everyone in our school community. The Lower Marion School District is deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of our most illustrious alumni Kobe Bryant. Mr. Bryant’s connection to Lower Merion High School where he played basketball prior to joining the NBA has raised the profile of our high school and our district throughout the world. Our school community will always be grateful for his ongoing generosity to his alma mater including his dedication of our Kobe Bryant gymnasium and his support of our girls and boys basketball teams,” said Amy Buckman, school spokeswoman.

Gregg Downer, the school’s head basketball coach, coached Bryant from 1992 to 1996. Bryant led the team to the 1996 state championship, Buckman said.

“Mr. Downer said he was completely shocked and devastated today upon hearing the news, adding that Aces nation has lost its heartbeat,” Buckman said.

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