Just three days after the sudden and tragic death of her husband, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, at age 41, and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna, Vanessa Bryant has spoken out publicly for the first time after suffering such a tremendous loss.

Vanessa, who married the basketball superstar when she was 18, in 2001, returned to Instagram today to address how she and her daughters have been holding up in the wake of the tragedy. As expected, the mother of four revealed she’s devastated, though she and her family are trying their best to go on.

“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time,” her post reads. “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.”

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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 ❤️

A post shared by Vanessa Bryant 🦋 (@vanessabryant) on

The post concludes with Bryant asking fans to support an initiative that has been set up in Kobe and Gianna’s memory called the MambaOnThree fund to help support the other families affected by the tragic accident. Most of all, she kindly asks fans to “grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality.”

Prior to his death, Kobe Bryant always touted being a husband and father as his proudest accomplishments. In fact, Kobe and Vanessa had a friendly competition going to see who could pull off the best date night. In November 2019, the champ took his wife back to Disneyland where they had their first date. “I love you my mamacita per sempre,” he wrote in dedication to his queen.

Our hearts go out to the Bryants and all families affected by this loss.

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