Vanessa Bryant, the widow of Kobe Bryant, took to Instagram on Wednesday to make her first public statement since the deaths of her husband and daughter, Gianna.
"My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time," Bryant wrote. "Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them."
Bryant posted the message alongside a photo of herself with Kobe and their four daughters, Natalia, Gianna, Bianka and Capri. She had been married to Kobe since 2001.
"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," Bryant wrote. "We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately."
Kobe, 41, and Gianna, 13, died on Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., in which none of the nine passengers survived. The group was on its way to a game at the Mamba Sports Academy. Two of Gianna's teammates were on board, along with three parents, an assistant coach and the pilot.
"There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now," Bryant added. "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."
Bryant went on to describe the family's new reality.
"I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them," Bryant said. "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."
To end her post, Bryant announced that the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up a fund to help support the other families affected by the tragedy, called the "MambaOnThree Fund." Those interested in donating can visit MambaSportsFoundation.org.
"Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me," Bryant wrote.
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