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Kobe gov't mourns death of basketball star Bryant who supported quake-hit Japan city

Kobe Bryant, right, a star player for the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, beams on being named the newest ambassador for the city of Kobe on Dec. 14, 2001, before a game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center. "Kobe Bryant was chosen not only because of his namesake but also because of his past involvement with the city," a statement issued by the Kobe Trade Information Office said. Bryant's father named his son after his favorite steakhouse where he ate Kobe beef. (Kyodo)

TOKYO -- The Kobe Municipal Government paid tribute to National Basketball Association (NBA) legend Kobe Bryant on Jan. 27 after he was killed along with his daughter in a helicopter crash.

The western Japan city's public relations division tweeted around 2 p.m. saying, "Kobe Bryant served as an ambassador for Kobe from 2001 to 2011." The post also mentioned the 41-year-old's efforts to support the city after the Great Hanshin Earthquake that struck Hyogo Prefecture in January 1995. "Thank you so much for supporting Kobe, which was devastated in the disaster. We offer our deepest condolences."

The division had earlier retweeted an image of Bryant, originally posted by NBA's official Twitter account.

Bryant, named after the famous Wagyu beef produced in the Hyogo Prefecture city of Kobe, spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He perished with his 13-year-old daughter in a helicopter crash in Southern California, which also took the lives of seven others onboard.

(By Rei Oikawa, Staff Writer)

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