The world is still mourning the loss of a legend.
On Jan. 26, news broke that Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, in Calabasas, Calif. The beloved Lakers star was only 41-years-old.
Additionally, Bryant and his daughter were two of nine people who passed away due to the unexpected accident on Sunday morning, which is still under investigation.
Since hearing the news, many have mourned the loss of the Oscar winner, including celebrities Bruno Mars, Reese Witherspoon, Cardi B, Gigi Hadid, Drake and others. Bryant’s fellow athlete friends also paid their respects, including Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal, Derek Jeter, LeBron James and more.
The biggest tribute of all, though, came from Kobe’s longtime love, Vanessa Bryant. On Wednesday, Jan. 29, she broke her silence over his and her daughter’s death with a heartbreaking statement.
“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time,” she began her message on Instagram, alongside a family photo. “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.”
Additionally, she took a moment to honor those who were on the same helicopter as her husband and daughter, which included: Christina Mauser, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester and Ara Zobayan.
“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,” Vanessa wrote. “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,” she continued. “I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever.”
Vanessa thanked everyone for sending her an outpour of support and love during this time. However, she also asked that people, “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,” she added. “To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org. To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org.”
She closed her statement with: “Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me.”
Moreover, earlier today, Vanessa updated her Instagram account to honor and remember her loved ones. She changed her profile picture, and added an endearing image of her husband and daughter from when they were younger.
In the snapshot, Gianna is looking up at her famous father, as she has her arms wrapped around his neck. Additionally, the late NBA legend can be seen smiling from ear-to-ear, as he looks at his baby girl.
Vanessa also changed her Instagram account from private to public, which she switches from time to time.
The tragic news of Kobe’s death comes nearly 7 months after he and his wife welcomed their fourth child. Back in June, the couple shared the exciting news that their little nugget had finally arrived.
Making the baby announcement sweeter? The pair gave their newborn a special middle name, which paid tribute to the NBA legend. The duo named their baby girl, Capri Kobe Bryant.
“Our baby girl is here,” Vanessa shared on Instagram at the time. “So thankful for our newest baby blessing. 6/20/19.”
“We are beyond excited that our baby girl “Koko”,” Kobe said, referencing his newborn’s new nickname.
The couple shared four daughters together: 17-year-old Natalia, 13-year-old Gianna, 3-year-old Bianka and 7-month-old Capri.
Our thoughts are with the Bryant family during this time.