Vanessa Bryant released an emotional statement on Wednesday following the deaths of her husband, Kobe, and daughter Gianna. Along with an Instagram photo featuring Kobe, Gigi, and her three other daughters, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri, Vanessa penned a heartbreaking note, remembering her loved ones. She also changed her profile photo to one of Kobe and Gigi hugging.
"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," Vanessa wrote. "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. 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."
"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," she continued. "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. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family ❤️."
The 41-year-old 18-time NBA All-Star and 13-year-old UConn Husky hopeful died in a helicopter crash with seven other people — Ara Zobayan, Sarah and Payton Chester, Christina Mauser, and Keri, Alyssa, and John Altobelli — in Calabasas, CA, on Jan. 26. The chopper was reportedly headed to a youth basketball game in Thousand Oaks when it crashed "amid foggy conditions into a hillside near an intersection in area north of Malibu State Park" and a brush fire erupted. There were no survivors.
Kobe's untimely death has impacted so many close to him, including his former Los Angeles Lakers teammates Shaquille O'Neal and Lamar Odom, as well as friends LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Drake, Jennifer Lopez, and Ellen DeGeneres. Plans for a public memorial ceremony are reportedly underway, though no official details have been released yet. Kobe will also be posthumously inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on the first ballot of 2020.