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Vanessa Bryant speaks: 'We are completely devastated'

BY , Jan 30, 2020 2:29 AM - REPORT AN ERRORLAST UPDATED ON Apr 24, 2020 3:31 PM

FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2011, file photo, U.S. basketball star Kobe Bryant plays with a ball during a sponsor's appearance in Milan, Italy. In Europe where Bryant grew up, the retired NBA star is being remembered for his "Italian qualities." Italian basketball federation president Giovanni Petrucci tells The Associated Press that Bryant is "particularly important to us because he knew Italy so well, having lived in several cities here. He had a lot of Italian qualities." (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File)

Vanessa Bryant spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time since the helicopter crash that killed her husband Kobe Bryant, one of their daughters and seven others, taking to Instagram to thank people for the global outpouring of support since the tragedy.

She also announced the formation of a fund to help support the other families that were affected by the crash.

“Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them,” Vanessa Bryant wrote. “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.”

The Bryants would have celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary this April. They had four daughters including Gianna, the 13-year-old who died in the crash.

“There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now,” Vanessa Bryant wrote.

“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.”

It was the first statement from the Bryant family since the crash.

The Los Angeles Lakers, the team that Bryant spent 20 years with, winning five championships, held a media availability Wednesday as well, the team’s first since learning of Bryant’s death.

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