NASCAR icon Dale Earnhardt Jr. has shared a message for Kobe Bryant's family, following the sudden and tragic deaths of Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash on Sunday. Taking to Twitter, Earnhardt Jr. — who lost his own father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., in to car crash during a NASCAR race — wrote, "What keeps coming to my mind is that I hope that anyone we've lost, the family/children left behind are surrounded with love, supported, and empowered to be great individuals as they find their way to carry on with their own lives. Strength and peace to the Bryant family."
Many of his followers have since replied to the post, sharing their own messages of sympathy, with one writing, "I thought about your dad all day yesterday after hearing this news. Only a few people ever touch enough lives for their death to be a national tragedy. Whenever it happens, it seems to bring back the pain of the previous ones."
"It happens for a while. As a new widow I can attest. But then after that it's like people don't know what to say to the widow. So then they distance themselves. When you need them the most," another offered.
This thing gave me a flashback to your accident. I remain grateful that you and your family are still with us. Thanks for the reminder that we need to support the families of the victims with our prayers, cards, calls and whatever else we can do.— Sharman Brown (@SEBrown51) January 27, 2020
"You know first hand about iconic sports people leaving us. So I know your words help the healing. I just can't get my head around his first born. Extra hurt," someone else tweeted. "Be well, and I hope you and family are happy and your mind and body are whole."
"So shocking and such a tragedy. My heart and prayers are with Kobe's family and All who were with him and his daughter. May they All be with God. And may God comfort there (sic) loved ones," one other user offered.
The only other time I had this awful feeling was when we lost your dad. I was a huge fan of your dad's, and almost as big a fan of Kobe. This one's going to hurt for a long time, too.— prophet (@2000Prophet) January 27, 2020
Notably, Earnhardt Jr. and his family were involved in a plane crash in August 2019, though no one was seriously injured or killed as a result.