Vanessa Bryant spoke out for the first time Wednesday after the deaths of her husband, Kobe Bryant, and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
"My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time," she wrote in a post on Instagram. "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."
Vanessa had not spoken out publicly since Bryant, 41, and Gianna died with seven others in a helicopter accident Sunday morning in Calabasas, California. Earlier on Wednesday, she changed her Instagram profile picture to a photo of the basketball legend embracing a young Gianna during the NBA All-Star Game in Toronto in 2016.
Vanessa wrote that she and her girls were also grieving for the others who died in the accident. The victims included two other teenage girls with their family members, a basketball coach, and the pilot of the helicopter.
The group was on their way from Orange County to a girls basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy.
"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," Vanessa wrote. "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."
Vanessa and Kobe met in 1999. They got married in 2001 and had four daughters together.
In her post, she asked for privacy as she and her daughters figure out how "to navigate this new reality."
"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," she wrote. "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."