Although I didn't know Kobe Bryant personally, I followed his career ever since I was in elementary school. He got me into watching basketball and turned me into a Lakers fan. The first jersey that I bought was a Kobe Bryant #8 jersey.
Despite never having a conversation with him, or meeting him in real life, can I say the same (above) about the thousands of strangers that die each day? You don't need to have a "real connection" to feel anguish when someone that is well-known dies, especially if you have followed them for years and looked up to them.
If someone prominent on the Canucks were to die tomorrow, how do you think you would feel despite not knowing them personally?