Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, made her first public statement just hours ago, since the tragic death of the NBA legend and their 13-year-old child.

As you may know, Kobe and daughter Giana died in a helicopter crash alongside 7 other people. In her post, Vanessa thank the public for its support and express her grief. Read the emotional statement here:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B77K8XWDY7O/

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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.

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.

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.

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. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org.

To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org.

Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family

Besides the father-daughter duo, the other individuals were John Altobelli, 56, longtime baseball coach at Orange Coast College; his wife, Keri, 46; their daughter Alyssa, 13; Christina Mauser, 38, an assistant basketball coach at the Mamba Sports Academy; Sarah Chester, 45; Chester’s daughter Payton, 13; and the pilot, 50-year-old Ara Zobayan.

The helicopter was transporting the group from Orange County to a basketball tournament at his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks. The 41-year-old retired NBA player was expected to coach his daughter Gianna’s team for their upcoming game.

As for the cause of the accident, the National Transportation Safety Board explained that “the chopper was not equipped with a terrain alarm system that could have warned the pilot he was approaching a hillside“.

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Source: YouTube

Kobe and Vanessa met in 1999 when he was 20 years old and she was in high school. They got engaged when she turned 18 and the couple walked down the aisle in April 2001. The lovebirds went on to have 4 children together – daughters Natalia, 17, Gianna, 13, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.

Sources: LA Times, People.

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