- Vanessa Bryant thanked everyone for showing her family support as they mourned the loss of her husband and daughter
- She asked for privacy as the family adjusts to the new reality of not having Kobe and Gigi with them
- According to the widow, she finds comfort in knowing that Kobe and their daughter died together knowing they were deeply loved
- The bodies of all nine victims of the crash were recovered on Wednesday with Kobe's being among four that were identified
As the world continues to mourn the death of basketball star Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others, his widow, Vanessa Bryant, has made her first public statement.
Venessa shared a heartbreaking tribute to her husband and daughter on Wednesday, 29 January. She also honoured those who died alongside them.
Taking to her Instagram page, the widow thanked everyone for supporting her family, noting that they were in pain and no words could express what they were going through.
“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who have shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them," Vanessa wrote.
"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.
Vanessa further said she found comfort in knowing that Kobe and her daughter knew they were genuinely loved and that they were a blessing to their family.
“There are not 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," she wrote.
"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 felt Kobe and Gianna were lighting the way for her and three other daughters.
Earlier on, she had changed her Instagram profile picture to one showing the basketball legend and Gianna sharing a tender moment which saw her gain 2 million followers.
"I'm not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it is 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 wrote.
Vanessa, who got married to Kobe in 2001, had made her Instagram page private after news of the crash went viral.
The 41-year-old retired NBA legend, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people were killed Sunday, 26 January in southern California in a helicopter crash.
The seven were identified as Christina Mauser, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester and Ara Zobayan.
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