Kobe Bryant: Donald Trump accused of copying Barack Obama's condolence tweet

US President Donald Trump is being accused of copying former US President Barack Obama's tweet mourning the death of basketball giant Kobe Bryant.

Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed when the private helicopter they were aboard crashed near Calabasas, California on Monday (NZT).

Trump tweeted his condolences and said: "Kobe Bryant, despite being one of the truly great basketball players of all time, was just getting started in life.

"He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future. The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating.

"Melania and I send our warmest condolences to Vanessa and the wonderful Bryant family. May God be with you all!"

His response upset some users, who said it was similar to Obama's tweet two hours earlier.

Obama wrote: "Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents.

"Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day."

Many people responding to Trump's tweet believed he was copying Obama, including one person who called him "jealous".

"Dude all you did was rewrite Obama's tweet. Jealous much," they said.

"Imagine tweeting again about Kobe Bryant only cuz (sic) Obama's tweet has over 1,000,000+ likes and your frail ego can't handle it.," another wrote.

But Trump also had people standing up for him, saying he was just sharing his commiserations.

"Imagine freaking out [because] Trump made a similar tweet when sending condolences to the family who just lost their dad," one user wrote.

"He's sending condolences to the people who had just lost a father, a husband, a mentor, a friend. Some things are far more important than politics," another wrote.

In his earlier tweet, Trump wrote about initial reports of Bryant's death and that the crash was "terrible news".

This also garnered some criticism. It prompted one user to ask Trump to "sit this one out" because of a tweet Bryant had sent in 2017.

"A #POTUS whose name alone creates division and anger. Whose words inspire dissension and hatred can't possibly 'Make America Great Again'," Bryant wrote.

Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa Laine Bryant, who he married in 2001, and their three daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, three, and Capri, seven months.