LOS ANGELES, United
States
– Vanessa Bryant spoke out Wednesday for the first time since her
husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna were killed in a horrific helicopter
crash, saying the family is “completely devastated” by the tragedy.

Vanessa, who married Kobe in 2001 when she was still a
teenager, took to Instagram to communicate her grief but said she was at a loss
for words.

“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 wrote on her account.

Her comments come three days after Bryant and their
13-year-old daughter died when the Sikorsky S-76 they were riding in slammed
into a rugged hillside in thick fog in Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles. The
crash also killed seven others.

The helicopter was headed to Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy
in Thousand Oaks, where Gianna was scheduled to play a basketball tournament.

– Not ‘enough words’ –

“There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right
now,” said Vanessa, who also changed her Instagram picture to one of Kobe
and Gianna embracing. “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.”

In the wake of the tragedy, Vanessa said they are still
trying to come to grips with the fact that they are gone.

“I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and
it’s impossible to imagine life without them,” she added. “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.”

Vanessa and Kobe Bryant met on the set of a video shoot for
which she was modelling. She was 17 and a senior in high school at the time.

They were engaged in 2001 before getting married six months
later. They had four daughters together. The oldest Natalia is 17 while Bianka
is 3 years old and Capri just seven months.

Kobe’s parents didn’t attend the wedding, partly because
Kobe’s father was uncomfortable with Vanessa being Latino instead of
African-American.

In 2003, Kobe was accused of sexually assaulting a
19-year-old woman at a Colorado hotel. Vanessa attended a news conference at
Staples Center arena in Los Angeles and sat next to Kobe as he professed his
love to her.

“I love my wife with all my heart. She’s my
backbone,” Kobe said from the podium.

Kobe admitted in front of her to being unfaithful but denied
sexual assault. The case was eventually dismissed after the accuser dropped the
charges.

– ‘Millions of people’ –

Vanessa also thanked the millions of fans who have shown
their support for the families involved.

“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,” she said.

Vanessa signed off by expressing more thanks “for
lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka,
Capri and me.” 

“We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we
will need to navigate this new reality,” she added.

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