In a heartbreaking post on Instagram, Vanessa Bryant has broken her silence about losing her husband Kobe Bryant, 41, and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna in a tragic helicopter crash over the weekend. Three days after the horrific accident, she thanked the millions of people who've sent their love, support, and shared memories of the NBA legend with the Bryant family during this incredibly difficult time.
"Thank you for the prayers. We definitely need them," she captioned a sweet family photo featuring Vanessa, Kobe, and the couple's four daughters. "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."
Vanessa's post on Wednesday evening came hours after she made her Instagram profile public and changed her profile photo to one of just Kobe and Gianna looking at one another. "There aren't enough words to describe our pain right now," she continued on Instagram. "I take comfort in knowing Kobe and Gigi both knew they were 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."
Vanessa went on to share that it's hard to imagine what their lives will be like without Kobe and Gigi in them, but said they will keep pushing through for 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 wrote.
Vanessa also thanked everyone — from the millions of fans, to celebrities, to basketball players — who have paid tribute to Kobe over the past few days. "Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief, and your support with us," she wrote.
She ended her statement by asking her supporters to help the other families affected by the fatal crash on Jan. 26, which killed nine people. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed the seven other names of the victims as Gianna's basketball teammate, 13-year-old Payton Chester and her mom, Sarah; Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and their 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa; assistant basketball coach, Christina Mauser; and the pilot of the helicopter, Ara Zobayan.
"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," Vanessa wrote.
Those looking to help can submit their email to the MambaOnThree foundation. The organization will email people once they start accepting donations to be directly donated to the families. You can also donate to the Mamba Sports Academy, a facility created by Kobe to provide "underserved communities and individuals" in Southern California with the opportunity to play sports.
"We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality," Vanessa wrote. "... Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me."