Kobe Bryant's widow breaks silence on NBA superstar's death

In this file photo taken on March 05, 2018 US actor and basketball player Kobe Bryant (R) holds an oscar beside his wife Vanessa Laine Bryant during the 90th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California. NBA legend Kobe Bryant died Sunday when a helicopter crashed and burst into flames in foggy conditions in suburban Los Angeles, killing all nine people on board and plunging the sports world into mourning.
In this file photo taken on March 05, 2018 US actor and basketball player Kobe Bryant (R) holds an oscar beside his wife Vanessa Laine Bryant during the 90th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California. NBA legend Kobe Bryant died Sunday when a helicopter crashed and burst into flames in foggy conditions in suburban Los Angeles, killing all nine people on board and plunging the sports world into mourning.
Image: ANGELA WEISS / AFP

Three days after Los Angeles basketball great Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daugther and seven others perished in a helicopter crash, his wife, Vanessa, broke her silence with an Instagram message saying she was "completely devastated" by their loss.

The social media text was posted alongside a recent family photo of Kobe and Vanessa Bryant with all four of their daughters - Gianna, who died with her father, along with the couple's eldest, Natalia, 17, 3-year-old Bianka, and the youngest, Capri, born in June 2019.

Kobe Bryant and the couple's second daughter, knicknamed Gigi, died on Sunday when the helicopter they were flying in en route to the Mamba Sports Academy for a girl's basketball tournament crashed in foggy weather on a hillside northwest of Los Angeles.

Gianna Bryant was a member of the Mamba team due to compete that day.

Her father, who retired from the National Basketball Association in 2016 after 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, was the coach of his daughter's team.

The pilot and six more passengers were also killed - two other 13-year-old girls involved in the tournament, three of their parents and another coach. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

The death of Bryant, 41, an 18-time NBA all-star, five-time Lakers champion and one of the world's most admired sports figures, unleashed an outpouring of grief and tributes from fans, fellow athletes and politicians around the globe.

Tribute for former Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant and victims before the Anaheim Ducks play against the Arizona Coyotes at Honda Center.
Tribute for former Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant and victims before the Anaheim Ducks play against the Arizona Coyotes at Honda Center.
Image: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

"My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who've shown support and love during this horrific time," Vanessa Bryant, 37, a former model, wrote on her Instagram account.

"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," she added.

The message goes on to say: "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.

Notes, flowers and candles are placed at a makeshift memorial as fans mourn the death of NBA star Kobe Bryant, who was killed along with his daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash on January 26, in LA Live Plaza outside Staples Center, January 29, 2020, in Los Angeles.
Notes, flowers and candles are placed at a makeshift memorial as fans mourn the death of NBA star Kobe Bryant, who was killed along with his daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash on January 26, in LA Live Plaza outside Staples Center, January 29, 2020, in Los Angeles.
Image: Robyn Beck / AFP

"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."

She directed anyone wishing to "further Kobe and Gianna's legacy in youth sports" to visit the site MambaSports Foundation.org.

There has been no word yet on funeral arrangements. 


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