Vanessa Bryant speaks for first time of loss of Kobe and Gianna
Basketball superstar’s widow posts about devastation of losing husband and daughter
Three days after the Los Angeles basketball great Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash, his wife, Vanessa, has spoken for the first time, saying on Instagram she was completely devastated by their loss.
The message was posted alongside a recent family photograph of Kobe and Vanessa Bryant with their four daughters: Gianna, Natalia, 17, three-year-old Bianka and Capri, born in June 2019.
Kobe Bryant and the couple’s second daughter, nicknamed Gigi, died on Sunday when the helicopter in which they were flying crashed in foggy weather on a hillside north-west of Los Angeles. They were on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy for a girls’ basketball tournament.
Gianna was a member of the Mamba team which was due to compete that day. Her father, who retired from the National Basketball Association in 2016 after 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, was the team’s coach.
The pilot and six other passengers were also killed, including two 13-year-old girls also involved in the tournament, three of their parents and another coach. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
The death of Bryant, 41, an 18-time NBA All-Star, a five-time Lakers champion and one of the world’s most admired sports figures, unleashed an outpouring of grief and tributes from fans, athletes and politicians around the world.
“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time,” wrote Vanessa Bryant, 37, a former model, on her Instagram account.
“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.”
The message continues: “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.”
She directed anyone wishing to “further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports” to visit the Mamba Sports Foundation site.
There has been no word yet on funeral arrangements.
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