In the wake of her husband Kobe Bryant's sudden death on Sunday, alongside their 13-year old daughter Gianna, Vanessa Bryant issued a statement via social media on Wednesday afternoon.
"My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time," Vanessa began in her Instagram 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." She went on to say:
"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."
Continuing her emotional post, Vanessa stated,
"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.
Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality."
Earlier on Wednesday, Bryant changed her Instagram avatar to an image of her husband and Gianna on a basketball court, which was the first time the public heard from her since the accident.
Vanessa and Kobe were married for nearly 19 years at the time of his death. In 2011, Vanessa filed for divorce due to irreconcileable differences, but two years later, the pair called off the divorce, announcing that they had reunited.
Kobe and Gianna were killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash that killed eight others, including an Orange Coast College baseball coach, his wife and 13-year-old daughter, who played on a basketball team with Gianna. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are currently still investigating the crash.