Vanessa Bryant has taken to Instagram to thank the “millions of people who’ve shown support and love” since losing her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter, Gianna, in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles on January 26.
Alongside a family photograph, Bryant thanked everyone for “all the prayers” that fans from around the world have shared.
“We definitely need them,” she said.
“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.
“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.”
Bryant concluded the post by asking that the public grant the respect and privacy they need to navigate “this new reality”.
Basketballer Kobe Bryant died alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, when they were travelling to a basketball school, Mamba Academy in California in a helicopter that crashed amid foggy conditions.
The other victims of the crash have been identified as head baseball coach at Orange Coast College, John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa. The basketball coach Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and daughter Payton (teammate of Gianna Bryant) were also involved in the crash, as was helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan.
Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa and their three other daughters: Natalia, 17; Bianka, 3; and Capri Kobe Bryant, seven months.
The cause of the crash is still yet to be determined.
To honour Kobe and Gianna, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by the tragedy.
To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org.
To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org.