Vanessa Bryant has broken her silence following the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of her husband, legendary Lakers star Kobe Bryant, and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna. The 37-year-old posted a family photo on Instagram along with a heartbreaking message honouring her "adoring" husband and their "beautiful, sweet" child. The couple had been married since April 2001, and shared four daughters; Natalia, 17, Gianna, Bianka, three, and Capri, who was born in June last year. She began: "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.
Vanessa Bryant shared a recent family photo on Instagram
"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.
MORE: Celebrities react to shock death of Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter, 13, in helicopter crash
"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.
LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna
"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 honour 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."
MORE: Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez share personal memories of friendship with Kobe Bryant in heartfelt tributes
There has been an outpouring of love and support for the family since the tragedy occurred on Sunday. Beyoncé is the latest celebrity to pay a heartfelt tribute to Kobe, 41, and Gianna. Sharing a picture of father and daughter courtside at a basketball game, with Kobe kissing Gianna on the head, she wrote: "I will continue to pray diligently for your Queens. You are deeply missed beloved Kobe."