Following the tragic death of her husband, Kobe Bryant, and her daughter, Gianna Bryant, Vanessa Bryant has spoken out for the first time through Instagram. Vanessa Bryant's first Instagram after Kobe and Gianna's deaths is so touching. Along with a lengthy post thanking everyone who has sent love and support her way, Vanessa also shared a sweet family photo showing her, Kobe, Gianna, and her three other daughters, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.
Vanessa released her statement three days after Kobe and Gianna died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 26. The crash also killed seven other people, including baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa; Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton; Mamba Academy basketball coach Christina Mauser; and the helicopter's pilot, Ara Zobayan. The aircraft was headed to a basketball tournament in Thousand Oaks, California, when it crashed.
Following the tragedy, Vanessa changed her Instagram profile to a picture of her late husband and her 13-year-old daughter, and then shared an emotional letter to all those who have shown her support these past few days.
"My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time," Vanessa began her post. "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. 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," she continued. "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."
Vanessa explained that it will be a challenge to try and adjust to a life without Kobe and Gianna, but she and her family will pull through. "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," she said. "We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality."
She ended her post by asking fans to donate to the Mamba Sports Foundation's MambaOnThree Fund, which will help support the other families affected by this tragedy.
"Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me," Vanessa said.