By Bruce Haring – Deadline Hollywood
January 26th 2020 – Kobe Bryant has passed away at the age of 41. He was born on August 23rd 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and died on January 26th 2020 in Calabasas, California in a helicopter crash. – File Photo by: zz/KGC-11/STAR MAX/IPx 2018 2/26/18 Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa Laine Bryant with their daughters Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant and Natalia Diamante Bryant at the premiere of “A Wrinkle In Time” in Los Angeles, CA. AP Images
Vanessa Bryant has made her first public comments following the death of her 41-year-old husband Kobe Bryant and her 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
In an Instagram post, Bryant thanked the public outpouring of grief and condolences that came after the horrific helicopter accident on Sunday that claimed her family members.
“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time,” she wrote. “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.”
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.
To conclude, she asked for “the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality.”
Earlier on Wednesday, she posted an image of her husband and Gianna as her avatar on Instagram.
Vanessa Bryant married Kobe at age 18, when he was 22 years old. His parents objected to their young son tying the knot so soon, but the couple has stayed together 19 years, and the long-standing differences with the parents were reportedly being reconciled. Vanessa filed for divorce in 2011, but the couple publicly reconciled two years later.