On Wednesday, the wife of the legendary NBA star released a statement on Instagram, expressing her heartbreak and devastation, as well as her gratitude for the monumental outpouring of love and condolences. Kobe died alongside Gianna in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Jan. 26. He was 41.
"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," she wrote, alongside a family photo. "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," she continued. "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 shared. "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."
Vanessa concluded, "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."
In response to Vanessa's statement, many of the family's famous friends and fans reached out to share their love in the comments on her Instagram post.
Ellen DeGeneres, who tearfully addressed the tragedy on her daytime talk show on Monday, wrote, "There is so much love in the world for you right now. I hope you can feel it."
"Anything and everything we can do for you and the families affected. We love you," Derek Hough wrote.
Alyssa Milano wrote under the emotional post, "Dear Vanessa, I'm so deeply and profoundly sorry for your loss and heartache."
Other well-wishers, included Sarah Michelle Gellar, singer Michelle Williams, Lily Aldridge, Danielle Fishel, Cindy Crawford, NeNe Leakes, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Martha Hunt, among many, many others.
In addition to Gianna, Vanessa and Kobe shared three other children: Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months. A source close to the Bryant family told ET on Wednesday that Vanessa "feels almost numb to everything" after losing Kobe and Gianna.
"Vanessa is completely shocked and heartbroken but is trying to stay as strong as she can in front of her children," the source said. "Vanessa married Kobe when she was 18 and never expected to live her life without him, and that [healing] is going to take time."
"She has been surrounded by her family and friends but she feels almost numb to everything," the source continued. "She is thankful for the outpouring of love her and her family has received and will respond when she's ready. Right now she's taking time to be with her girls."
A source also revealed to ET on Wednesday that "Kobe and Vanessa tried whenever possible to not take a helicopter together in fear of what could happen if something went wrong. However, the couple did ride together in a helicopter several times."
"The source recalled the couple spent Valentine’s Day 2015 riding around in one," and added that it was not a pact between the couple, they just tried to avoid it when they could.
Prior to Kobe and Gianna's deaths, Vanessa's Instagram was private. She made her account public earlier this week, changing her profile pic to a sweet photo of Kobe and Gianna embraced in a hug.
Vanessa's last photo of Gianna (whom she and Kobe called "Gigi") was posted to her account on Jan. 15. It was a snap of Gigi on the basketball court. The young athlete had dreams of following in her dad's footsteps and someday making it to the WNBA.
"Wingspan #wings #mambacita ?✈️," Vanessa captioned it.