Kobe Bryant’s now widow, Vanessa Bryant, has made a touching statement in the wake of the tragic helicopter crash that took the lives of her husband and 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant. In a heartrending display of both vulnerability and gratitude, Vanessa expressed how “completely devastated” the family is over the losses — as well as how much they appreciate the overwhelming outpouring of support they’re receiving in the aftermath.
Vanessa took to Instagram on Wednesday evening to share her emotional message. “My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. 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,” Vanessa wrote.
She continued, “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 taking from us too soon.”
For all her pain over losing her husband and child, though, Vanessa is also still thinking of others. “We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately,” she said. When the private helicopter belonging to Kobe went down in the hills of Calabasas, California, on Sunday, there were nine passengers on board. None survived.
In addition to Kobe and Gigi, the crash tragically took the lives of John Altobelli, 56, Keri Altobelli, 46, Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Christina Mauser, 38, Sarah Chester, 45, Payton Chester, 13, and pilot Ara Zobayan, 50. The young girls on board were members of Gigi’s basketball team at Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy, a team that Kobe coached. Accordingly, Vanessa shared that “to honor our Team Mamba family,” the Mamba Sports Foundation has created the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. She encouraged followers to donate at MambaOnThree.org and to “further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports” by visiting MambaSportsFoundation.org.
As for Vanessa and the couple’s surviving daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months, they’re just trying to take things day-by-day. “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 wrote. “Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable.”