When the news of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna broke on Sunday the first thought for many people was utter disbelief. The second thought was for Kobe's wife, Vanessa Bryant who just had the couple's fourth baby, little Capri Kobe, in June.
This week millions of hearts (including ours) ached for Vanessa, and on Wednesday night she released a statement via Instagram.
"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," she writes.
She continues: "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 is now raising an infant, a pre-schooler and a teenager by herself while grieving for her husband and her child. It's a pain that is unimaginable, and Vanessa says her family is also "devastated for the [other] families who lost their loved ones on Sunday."
Seven other people died in the crash that killed Kobe and Gianna: Basketball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa (Gianna's teammate) Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton Chester (another teammate), as well as basketball coach Christina Mauser and the pilot, Ara Zobayan.
"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," Vanessa writes.
She continues: "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."
She says she's not sure what the future holds for her and her girls, but right now they are waking up each day and moving forward for Kobe and Gianna.
"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," she writes.
Vanessa concludes her statement by asking for privacy as her girls grieve for their father. The family has set up a fund to honor Kobe and Gianna's legacies by helping other families pursue sports.