Vanessa Bryant took to Instagram on Monday to mourn the loss of her daughter, Gigi, and her husband, legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant. She “refuses to accept” that they’re both gone. Bryant accompanied her statement with a video that showed Gigi playing basketball and Kobe kissing her on the forehead.
“I’ve been reluctant to put my feelings into words. My brain refuses to accept that both Kobe and Gigi are gone. I can’t process both at the same time,” she wrote. “It’s like I’m trying to process Kobe being gone but my body refuses to accept my Gigi will never come back to me. It feels wrong. Why should I be able to wake up another day when my baby girl isn’t being able to have that opportunity?! I’m so mad. She had so much life to live. Then I realize I need to be strong and be here for my 3 daughters. Mad I’m not with Kobe and Gigi but thankful I’m here with Natalia, Bianka and Capri. I know what I’m feeling is normal. It’s part of the grieving process. I just wanted to share in case there’s anyone out there that’s experienced a loss like this. God I wish they were here and this nightmare would be over. Praying for all of the victims of this horrible tragedy. Please continue to pray for all.”
Vanessa Bryant’s First Post Following Kobe & Gigi’s Death
In her first statement after Kobe and Gigi Bryant’s death, Vanessa thanked her followers for all their support. She shared a picture of their family and revealed she was starting the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families who died in the crash.
“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,” she wrote on January 29 to her nearly 12 million followers. “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.” The post garnered more than 11.4 million likes and thousands of comments.
Vanessa has been active on Instagram, remembering her late husband and daughter by sharing pictures of them Lakers memorabilia. In a February 2 post, she shared a picture that was drawn by a fan. “Seeing my babygirl smile and happy again with a basketball ? under her arm, wrapped in ??love just warmed my heart. Thank you for this. @_vivalareina thank you!! My Gigi,” she wrote.
Details From Helicopter Crash
Kobe and Gigi Bryant died in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on January 26. They were on their way to a basketball tournament in Thousands Oaks. The NBA superstar, considered one of the greatest of all time, was 41 years old. His daughter, who was flying with him, along with seven other people, also died in the crash. She was 13 years old.
Accompanying them in the plane were Gigi’s basketball teammate Alyssa Altobelli, her mother, Keri, and her father, John. Christina Mauser, a school basketball assistant coach; Payton Chester, another teammate of Gigi’s, and Payton’s mother Sarah, were also killed in the crash. The pilot, identified as Ara Zobayan, also perished in the crash.
Bryant played with the Los Angeles Lakers throughout his two-decade career. He retired from the sport in 2016, but not before helping the Lakers win the NBA Finals five times. He’s one of the top scorers in NBA history, with 33,643 points throughout his career.
The foggy conditions that day are what led to their helicopter to crash. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the helicopter had nearly cleared the cloud layer before it crashed. They started to descend at 2,300 feet, but if they would have continued to climb, they might have made it out of the cloud layer 15 seconds, air safety consultant Kipp Lau told the Associated Press. Instead, Zobayan made the tragic decision to descend and turn left, crashing the aircraft into the hillside at 180 mph.
“If you exit the bottom of the clouds at 4,000 feet per minute at that high speed, you’ve certainly lost control of the aircraft,” Lau said.
“Once you break out of the clouds, it’s clear. Everything lines up with the body,” he explained. “Now you have a real horizon.”
READ NEXT: Spike Lee Pays Tribute To Kobe Bryant At Oscars With Purple And Yellow Suit