The late basketball star's wife of nearly 19 years released a statement concerning the tragedy. 

By Isabel Jones
Updated Jan 29, 2020 @ 8:15 pm
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Though the world is still coming to terms with the tragic death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, there’s perhaps no one more affected by the loss than the NBA star’s wife and mother to his daughters, Vanessa Bryant.

Vanessa, who wed Kobe in 2001, broke her silence following the tragedy on Wednesday, releasing a statement on 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. 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," she wrote. "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."

She continued, thanking fans for all their support, condolences, and well-wishes. She insisted that fans wishing to help visit a new fund to support the other familes touched by the tragedy.

"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."

The longtime couple met over 20 years ago, an occasion which the L.A. Lakers alum commemorated in November with a throwback photo, writing, “On this day 20 years ago I met my best friend, my Queen @vanessabryant I decided to take her on a date to Disneyland tonight to celebrate old school style (pre 4princesses) I love you my mamacita per sempre.”

In addition to Gianna, Vanessa and Kobe share three daughters: Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.