Vanessa Bryant Speaks on Kobe and Gianna’s Tragic Death

Kobe and Vanessa Bryant at the MTV Movie Awards in 2004.(Frank Micelotta / Getty Images)

No one was sure when Kobe Bryant’s widow would speak about the tragedy that occurred on Sunday. It’s hard for most people to imagine the grief she is experiencing after losing her husband and 13-year-old daughter to a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA.

But on Wednesday, Vanessa posted a heart-wrenching tribute on Instagram. At the time of writing, the post has over 8 million likes.

Vanessa Bryant’s Statement

View this post on Instagram

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 ❤️

A post shared by Vanessa Bryant 🦋 (@vanessabryant) on

Vanessa and Kobe’s Relationship

Vanessa and Kobe met in 1999. Vanessa was only 17 and working as a background dancer in a music video for Tha Eastsidaz. Kobe, who was 21, was in the building working on his debut album (yes, Kobe made an album)!

They married on April 18, 2001. Their first baby girl, Natalia, was born in 2003. Their second girl, Gianna–who tragically lost her life on Sunday–arrived in 2006.

vanessa-and-kobe
Kobe and Vanessa Bryant at the MTV Movie Awards in 2004.(Frank Micelotta / Getty Images)

In 2011, Vanessa and Kobe filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. However, in 2013 they both announced that the divorce was called off.

In 2016, the couple welcomed baby Bianka. In June 2019, baby Capri was born.

Now, Vanessa writes, “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.”

Seven Other Victims’ Families Honored

Kobe Bryant’s fame sometimes overshadows the fact that there were seven other victims of the tragic helicopter crash. But their families, like Vanessa said in her post, are experiencing the same horrible grief as the Bryants.

These are the seven other victims:

  • John Altobelli (56), Keri Altobelli (46) and their daughter Alyssa Altobelli (13)
  • Sarah Chester (45) and son Payton Chester (13)
  • Christina Mauser (38)
  • Ara Zobayan, the pilot (50)

Family, friends, and sports legends are honoring the victims.

We wish all the families affected by this terrible tragedy peace in this difficult time.

As Vanessa stated in her Instagram tribute, you can donate to support these very families through the MambaOnThree Fund on MambaOnThree.org.