Vanessa Bryant pays emotional tribute to late husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna

By Heather Cichowski

Vanessa Bryant has shared a heartbreaking tribute to her late husband Kobe Bryant and 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant after the two lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. on Jan. 26 along with seven other people.

On Jan. 29, Vanessa broke her silence on Instagram to thank fans for all of their support and condolences on behalf of herself and daughters, 17-year-old Natalia, three-year-old Bianka and seven-month-old Capri, and to memorialize Kobe and Gianna.

"My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who've shown support and love during this horrific time," she began. "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."

The loving wife continued that they are also "devastated" for the other families who lost their loved ones in the helicopter crash on Sunday and said the family "share in their grief intimately."

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Vanessa said the situation is difficult to describe because "there aren’t enough words to describe [their] pain."

"I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved," she continued. "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."

Vanessa and Kobe Bryant with daughters Gianna and Natalia at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Photo: © Taylor Hill/Getty Images

The mom tried to look to the future and admitted the uncertainty of not knowing what the families' lives will hold beyond today because 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 continued. "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."

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She closed by thanking everyone for sharing all their emotions and encourages followers to "honour the Team Mamba family" by furthering Kobe and Gianna's legacy in sports by supporting the Mamba Sports Foundation or by going to Mamba On Three, which supports other families affected by the tragedy.

She signed the note, "Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me."

Vanessa included a family portrait along with her affecting tribute to Kobe and Gianna.

Many celebrities have taken to social media since the news of Kobe's passing to express their emotions and to pay tribute to him and Gianna.

Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men sing in tribute to Kobe Bryant at the 2020 GRAMMYs. Photo: © John Shearer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Kobe and his daughter's untimely passings were also on many people's minds at the 2020 GRAMMYs, which also took place on Jan. 26. Host Alicia Keys opened the show by paying tribute to Kobe, Gianna and the seven others who lost their lives in the helicopter crash. Boyz II Men joined Alicia to sing an emotional rendition of "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday."

Kobe Bryant poses with his Academy Award for Animated Short for Dear Basketball at the 90th Oscars. Photo: © Steve Granitz/WireImage

The Academy confirmed the 2020 Oscars, which air on Feb. 9, will pay tribute to the former Los Angeles Laker player. It has been reported he will be honoured during the "In Memoriam" montage. In 2018, Kobe won an Academy Award for his short film Dear Basketball alongside filmmaker Glen Keane.

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