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.
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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 ❤️
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.
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.”
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:
Family, friends, and sports legends are honoring the victims.
A statement from Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom regarding the Altobelli family: pic.twitter.com/nfrMs5t6Bj
— Red Sox (@RedSox) January 27, 2020
Kawhi called Kobe’s pilot, Ara Zobayan, a “good dude” and used him to fly to and from games. He also discussed if this gives him any pause to keep using helicopters. pic.twitter.com/ao82V555h8
— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) January 29, 2020
John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and Ara Zobayan may you all rest in peace.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 27, 2020
Luka has all of the victims of the tragedy written on his Kobes tonight. pic.twitter.com/y8um454LtC
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) January 28, 2020
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.