NBA

Vanessa Bryant: 'There aren't enough words to describe our pain right now'

Vanessa Bryant, wife of the late Kobe Bryant, offered her first public comments since Sunday's helicopter crash that took the lives of the basketball star, daughter Gianna and seven others.

Kobe's wife offers 1st public comments since helicopter crash killed husband, daughter

Kobe Bryant poses with his family as his jerseys are retired at a Los Angeles Lakers game in 2017. On Wednesday, his wife Vanessa offered her first public comments since the helicopter crash that killed Kobe and daughter Gianna. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Vanessa Bryant, wife of the late Kobe Bryant, offered her first public comments since Sunday's helicopter crash that took the lives of the basketball star, daughter Gianna and seven others.

Vanessa thanked the millions of fans who offered their support in wake of the tragedy in an Instagram post.

"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.

"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."

The tragic death of Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others in the helicopter crash Sunday, has sparked an outpouring of grief and tributes for the basketball great who helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA titles during his 20-year career.

Married in 2001, Kobe and Vanessa had four daughters together: Natalia, 17; Gianna, who was 13; Bianka, three; and seven-month Capri. The Bryants would have celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary this April.

Vanessa also announced the creation of the MambaOn Three Fund to support the other families affected by the tragedy.

"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."

There has been no announcement on funeral or memorial plans yet for Kobe and Gianna Bryant. Vanessa Bryant asked for a continued respect of her family's privacy as they begin to "navigate this new reality."

The Los Angeles Lakers franchise issued its first public comments since Sunday in a statement posted to Twitter.

"Words cannot express what Kobe means to the Los Angeles Lakers, our fans, and our city. More than a basketball player, he was a beloved father, husband, and teammate. Their love and light will remain in our hearts forever."

With files from The Associated Press

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