Vanessa Bryant Celebrates Daughter Gianna's 8th Grade Graduation With Somber Photo

Vanessa Bryant just sent a heartfelt message to her late daughter Gianna. On Friday, the widow of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant went Instagram to celebrate Gianna's graduation from eight grade. Gianna and Kobe died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 along with seven other people.

In the caption, Bryant wrote: "Congratulations on your 8th grade graduation Gigi. I love you forever and always. I'm so proud of you." Gianna was a student at Arbor Day School in Corona Del Mar, California. The school honored her with a diploma, and this comes three months after the school retired her No. 2 jersey. "My Gianna. God I miss you. I've been so lucky to have woken up to see your gorgeous face and amazing smile for 13 years," she wrote in the caption of one of her posts at the time. "Wish it would've been until my last breath. Mommy loves you to the moon and back."

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In May, Bryant celebrated Gianna's 14th birthday. On Instagram, Bryant wrote: "Happy 14th Birthday to my sweet baby girl, Gianna. Mommy loves you more than I can ever show you. You are part of MY SOUL forever. I miss you so much everyday. I wish I could wake up and have you here with me. I miss your smile, your hugs and your giggles. I miss EVERYTHING about YOU, Gigi. I LOVE YOU so much!!!!!!!" Bryant also had a request for her followers, asking everyone to wear red as it was Gianna's favorite color.

"Gianna loved to wear a red bow in all of her school pictures," Bryant wrote on Instagram. "Red means love and life. To commemorate Gigi's birthday today, please consider wearing red, caption an act of kindness or show how you will play Gigi's way since she always gave everything she did her all and led with kindness. Please use the hashtag #PlayGigisWay. Thank you. 5-1-06 Mambacita."


Two weeks after Gianna's birthday, the autopsies for all nine victims in the helicopter crash were released. The Los Angeles County coroner and medical examiner's office announced the cause of death was blunt trauma and the place of death is listed as "mountain side." Bryant has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the helicopter company, claiming the pilot was flying at 180 miles per hour in heavy fog before the crash.