A Japanese industry group that manages the Kobe beef brand has expressed sadness about the death of US basketball star Kobe Bryant, whose name is said to come from the famous meat product.
Tetsunori Tanimoto of the Kobe Beef Marketing & Distribution Promotion Association said he was shocked to hear Bryant had been killed in a helicopter accident.
Tanimoto said the star player greatly helped to raise the international profile of Kobe beef. He also said he is praying for Bryant and the other victims of the crash.
Bryant's father is said to have been so impressed with Kobe beef that he named his son after the product.
The western city of Kobe appointed the NBA star as a goodwill ambassador for 10 years from 2001.
Mayor Kizo Hisamoto said Bryant helped promote the city to the world. He described the global superstar as a special person for the people of Kobe.