Kobe Bryant's widow Vanessa melted hearts with a sunset tribute to her late husband just as the Los Angeles Lakers paid their respects to him. On Friday night, Vanessa, who married Bryant in 2001, shared the below photo of a sunset on the West Coast. The natural phenomenon featured tints of gold and purple, which she told resembled the Lakers' iconic colors. She included emojis for a gold heart and a purple heart, which was a common Bryant tribute across social media.
Vanessa first spoke out about the death of her husband and their 13-year old daughter Gianna on Wednesday. The father and daughter were two of nine victims in a helicopter crash that occurred in Calabasas, California, on Sunday.
"My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who've shown support and love during this horrific time," Vanessa wrote alongside a family photo. "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.
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. 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.
"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."
She also directed fans to MambaOnThree.org, which is a landing site where fans can donate to the MambaOnThree Fund. The MambaOnThree Fund will help support the families of the other helicopter passengers who perished in the accident: John Altobelli, 56; Keri Altobelli, 46; Alyssa Altobelli, 14; Christina Mauser, 38; Sarah Chester, 45, Payton Chester, 13; and Ara Zobayan, the helicopter's pilot.
Vanessa closed by writing, "Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family."
Photo Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images