Vanessa Bryant broke her silence on the deaths of husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant on Wednesday, January 29. Vanessa thanked people for their support and prayers and spoke of her family's indescribable pain in a heartbreaking Instagram post. She also sent condolences to the other victims' families and announced that Kobe's Mamba Foundation had set up a fund to assist them financially as they grieve their respective losses.
"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," Vanessa wrote.
She continued, "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."
Vanessa went on to urge people to donate to the fund set up to aid the other victims' families. "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," she concluded.
Vanessa made her Instagram page private after the crash that killed Kobe, Gianna and seven others on Sunday, January 26. Earlier on Wednesday, she switched her page back to public and made her profile pic a photo of Gianna wrapping her arms around Kobe at a basketball game.
Kobe, John Altobelli, Sarah Chester, and pilot Ara Zobayan's deaths were confirmed through the use of fingerprints on Tuesday. Investigators are still working on identifying the five remaining decedents.
There were no survivors after the helicopter the group was traveling in crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, California and burst into flames.
Funeral arrangements and memorial plans for Kobe and Gianna have yet to be announced. A recent report suggested that Staples Center wouldn't be large enough to accommodate all the anticipated attendees, and that organizers were looking at other venues like The Coliseum to hold the event.