In Vanessa Bryant’s first public remarks since the deaths of her husband, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, she thanked everyone for showering her and her family with support “during this horrific time.”
“There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now,” Bryant wrote in an Instagram post Wednesday evening, paired with a photo of her family. “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,” she went on. “I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them.”
Kobe and Gianna Bryant died unexpectedly when a helicopter they were in crashed in Calabasas, California, on Sunday, sending shock waves through Los Angeles and the sports community. Seven other people in the aircraft also died.
In her tribute, Vanessa Bryant paid her respects to the other victims of the crash. “We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately,” she wrote.
Kobe, a former player for the Los Angeles Lakers and a father of four girls, was 41. He and his wife had been married for 18 years.
Earlier Wednesday, Vanessa Bryant had updated her Instagram profile with a photo of Kobe and Gianna holding each other in a loving embrace.
Like her father, Gianna was a dedicated basketball player. Kobe coached his daughter’s team and shared videos and photos of Gianna playing ball on his own Instagram account.
Kobe told the Los Angeles Times last year that Gianna was “hell-bent” on playing for the University of Connecticut and, eventually, the WNBA.
Vanessa Bryant asked the public to grant her and her family “the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality.”
The couple’s surviving children are Natalia, 17; Bianka, 3; and Capri, 8 months.
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