Heartbroken Shaquille O'Neal gives tearful tribute to Kobe Bryant live on TV

Heartbroken Shaquille O'Neal gives tearful tribute to Kobe Bryant live on TV

A heartbroken Shaquille O'Neal has paid a tearful tribute to Kobe Bryant on TV.

This comes just days after the legendary basketball player, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven other people lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday. There were no survivors.

As per NBA on TNT, Shaquille O'Neal tearfully said of his "brother" Kobe: "I haven't felt a pain that sharp in a while... it definitely changes me."

Watch his heartfelt tribute below: 

"The last couple months have been really tough. I lost my little sister. Haven't been doing the things I usually do. I work, we laugh, we kid, we joke. When I get back home I look at reality and say she's gone and it hurts," Shaq said.

He then recalled the moment he found out about Kobe's death: "So the other day I'm downstairs working with my son Shaqir and my nephew Columbus and my other nephew comes in crying and he shows me his phone and I snapped at him. I said, 'Man get that out of my face.''"

"I lost two grandmothers, lost a Sarge, lost a sister. And now I lost a little brother," he said later in the interview. "Our names will be attached together for what we did, people always asked about our relationship and I tell them it's just like me and Charles.

"We got two strong-minded people who are going to get it done that way, gonna say certain things, the respect will never be lost but when it comes to be inside the lines and win, that's what me and him, that's what we did. That's what me and Charles, that's what we do."

Credit: PA Images

Prior to his retirement in 2016, Kobe had a legendary 20-year career, spent entirely with the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe and Shaq were one of the most dominant one-two punches in league history and won three titles back-to-back between 2000 and 2002 to secure the Lakers their second ever 'three-peat'.

An investigation has now been launched into the cause of the crash.