Vanessa Bryant Trying to Be 'Strong' for Daughters Following Death of Kobe Bryant and Gianna

Following the deaths of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, Bryant's wife Vanessa is reportedly trying to be "strong" for the couple's other three daughters. On Sunday, Bryant's private helicopter crashed in the hills of Calabasas, California, killing the NBA star, his 13-year-old daughter, the aircraft's pilot, and six other passengers. Now, a source close to the family told PEOPLE that this is obviously "an extremely difficult and devastating time for Vanessa and the whole family," while a second source added, "she can hardly keep it together" and "can't finish a sentence without crying."

"But she is working very hard to pull it together for the other girls. She now has to be the strong one," the second source continued. "Of course, you can never be prepared for this. Despite their ups and downs, [Vanessa and Kobe] were soulmates. She thought of him as her partner for life."

While she is absolutely "devastated," Vanessa "is surrounded by people who love her and love Kobe. She has a good support system. She is relying on her faith. She is not alone. But she will be grieving this for a very long time," the second source shared.

In addition to 13-year-old Gianna, Vanessa also had three other daughters with Bryant: 17-year-old Natalia, 3-year-old Bianka, and 7-month-old Capri.

Following the tragic helicopter crash, many have been taking to social media to to mourn the late sports icon and his daughter, with one user tweeting:


"Kobe, your sudden death has affected me more than I could have ever image. Every time I think of what happened my heart breaks and tears swell. I used to want to be like Kobe when I played. Now I want to be like Kobe The Father," said Buffalo Bills player Jon Feliciano.

"My brother and I idolized Kobe Bryant growing up. I always tried to implement some of his style into my game. So, thank you #Kobe for teaching me the fade-away," another user added. "More importantly, thanks for being a role model to millions on and off the court. #RipKobe."