Vanessa Bryant, the wife of the late Kobe Bryant, issued her first public comments since her husband and daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash Sunday.
Bryant changed her Instagram profile photograph Wednesday to one of Kobe and Gianna embracing each other and wrote the following message accompanying a picture of her, Kobe and their four daughters:
"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.
"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.
"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. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family"
Kobe and Vanessa met in 1999 when he was 20 years old and she was in high school and became engaged when she turned 18. They married each other in April 2001 and had four daughters together—Natalia, Gianna, Bianka and Capri.
The hashtag #GirlDad has trended on social media of late since ESPN's Elle Duncan shared a story of her interaction with Kobe. He told her how blessed she was to be having a daughter and expressed how much he loved being the father of four girls.
"I would have five more girls if I could," he said. "I'm a girl dad."