Paulo Coelho, the author of "The Alchemist," announced Monday that he deleted the draft of a children's book he was writing with Kobe Bryant after Bryant died Sunday in a helicopter crash. Within hours of hearing of Bryant's death, Coelho announced that he would delete the draft rather than finish without the 41-year-old five-time NBA champion.
"I deleted the draft because it didn't make any sense to publish without him," Coelho told The Associated Press by phone on Monday from his home in Geneva. "It wouldn't add anything relevant to him or his family."
"That doesn't stop me from writing someday about things I learned from Kobe and how much of a larger than life person he was," Coelho said. "But the children's book did not make sense anymore."
Coelho's decision disappointed many of Bryant's fans, who flooded the writer's social media channels asking for the draft not to be erased.
The 72-year-old novelist told The Associated Press that the two men started discussing the project in 2016, when Bryant retired after his 20-year NBA career. They began writing a few months ago.
Coelho, who has sold tens of millions of books, said the idea of the book was to inspire underprivileged children to overcome adversity through sports.
"Kobe was always very concerned about making a book that was a positive example for children, especially those coming from humble beginnings," Coelho said.
Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna also died in the crash,. Bryant is survived by his wife and three other daughters.
The book project was very casual. After not communicating for several months, Bryant sent a message to Coelho in August, saying "Let's right that book together," according to a tweet from Coelho. He then texted the correct spelling of "write."
"It went from there. Little by little we were going ahead," Coelho said. He did not reveal how many pages had been written or whether the book already had a title.
Bryant's Granity Studios published middle grade and young adult novels. It also put out the his autobiography, "The Mamba Mentality: How I Play," which was released in 2018.
"I saw him enough times to assure he had much more than sports on his mind, it wasn't all about competition," Coelho said. "His tragic death has shown already how he was important to the world, not only to the United States. We will discuss his legacy for many years, much beyond sport."