Vanessa Bryant breaks silence with emotional post about losing her husband and daughter
On Sunday, the world was rocked by the news that basketball legend Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Sadly, the pain felt by his fans and loved ones only continued to grow, as it was later revealed that a total of nine lives were lost in the crash, including Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
Tributes from fans and celebrities alike have poured in - from teammate Shaquille O'Neal to TV host Ellen DeGeneres.
Watch as Shaquille O'Neal gives a tearful tribute to Kobe Bryant
Now, Kobe Bryant's widow, Vanessa, has made her first public statement on Wednesday, addressing the death of her husband and daughter.
Taking to Instagram, she wrote;
"My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri."
"We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately.
"There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved," she continued.
"We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable.
"I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever. Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality. To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org. To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org.
"Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me."
The 41-year-old was traveling on a helicopter over Calabasas, California, with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, when it crashed, killing them and seven others on Sunday.