Mourning two devastating losses. Vanessa Bryant honored her late husband, Kobe Bryant, and her daughter, Gianna Bryant, on January 29 after they were tragically killed in a helicopter crash three days earlier on January 26. the 37-year-old switched her Instagram from private to public, and fans immediately noticed that she updated her icon to pay tribute to her lost family members. Bryant and Gianna can be seen hugging in the heartbreaking shot. Hours later, Vanessa thanked fans in a touching statement. See the message here.
This is the first time the 37-year-old has publicly acknowledged her husband and daughter’s tragic deaths. The former L.A. Laker and his 13-year-old daughter passed away after a helicopter they had been traveling in crashed in Calabasas, California. The father-daughter duo was en route to Bryant’s Mamba Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks for basketball practice before the accident. Even though emergency personnel and paramedics responded quickly, all nine passengers were confirmed dead.
Just moments after news of their heartbreaking deaths broke, Vanessa turned her Instagram profile to private.
Kobe was revered as one of the most legendary basketball players of his time. Throughout his 20-year career, he was a member of the L.A. Lakers and he officially joined the team in 1995. The Philadelphia native was drafted straight from high school and he went on to earn five NBA championships, including an MVP award in 2008. He also was an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team and 12-time member of the All-Defensive team.
Kobe and Gigi courtside breaking down the game 📋 pic.twitter.com/FxqSjVx6ew
— ESPN (@espn) December 22, 2019
Gianna shared an extremely close bond with her father, and she also followed along in his footsteps. The teen was a talented basketball player in her own right, and her dad proudly coached her and her Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team for two years before their deaths. In December 2019, a video of Kobe explaining the rules of basketball to Gianna from the sidelines of the Brooklyn Nets match against the Atlanta Hawks went viral on social media and fans gushed over their sweet father-daughter relationship.
Our thoughts are with the Bryant family as they continue to mourn their losses.