The world is still coming to terms with the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant following the devastating helicopter crash last month that claimed the lives of 8 others, including his thirteen-year-old daughter Gianna.
Kobe’s family has understandably been struggling with the deaths – and they have frequently taken to Instagram to pay tribute. And the latest comes from Kobe’s oldest daughter, Natalia.
Keep scrolling to take a look…
For those of you that aren’t aware, Kobe Bryant was a legend.
After he left high school, he entered the NBA directly and went onto win 5 championships.
Kobe Bryant made history on many occasions. His twenty-year career in the NBA saw him become the all-time leading scorer in Lakers history in 2010. At thirty-four years old, he also became the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points. What an achievement.
After a string of injuries began taking their toll on his body, he decided it would be best to leave the game, though that didn’t stop him from coaching and doing extra work on the side in order to aid the NBA.
Kobe Bryant was tragically killed in a helicopter crash on Jan 26. The NBA star’s private helicopter crashed in Calabasas at around 9:45 am local time, TMZ sports confirmed.
But tragically, his private helicopter went down and a “fire broke out,” TMZ reported.
And there were 9 bodies found at the scene.
TMZ Sports reported that Gianna, aged thirteen, tragically died in the crash. It is thought that the father and daughter were on their way to the Mamba Academy for basketball practice, nearby Thousand Oaks.
Kobe and Gigi leave behind their wife/mom and their daughters/sisters – Natalia and Bianka, and their newborn, Capri.
All 9 of the passengers on board were confirmed to have died in the tragic crash.
The two had a strong friendship as Kobe was an active Obama supporter and they both shared similar views on social issues.
Melania also sent her condolences.
She wrote: “RIP Kobe, hero to many including my grandson, extraordinary athlete and always kind to me & my family. My deepest condolences to his family.”
Kobe’s family has just been hit with the worst news they could possibly have. No goodbyes. No final words. Devastating.
Megan Rapinoe, a professional soccer player for the United States team tweeted about him.
He attached a photograph of him and Kobe right before one of his races.
And she penned a heart-wrenching Instagram post a few days after the tragedy.
“My brain refuses to accept that both Kobe and Gigi are gone. I can’t process both at the same time. It’s like I’m trying to process Kobe being gone but my body refuses to accept my Gigi will never come back to me,” she wrote.
“Why should I be able to wake up another day when my baby girl isn’t being able to have that opportunity?! I’m so mad. She had so much life to live.”
“Then I realize I need to be strong and be here for my 3 daughters. Mad I’m not with Kobe and Gigi but thankful I’m here with Natalia, Bianka and Capri.”
“I know what I’m feeling is normal. It’s part of the grieving process. I just wanted to share in case there’s anyone out there that’s experienced a loss like this.”
“Praying for all of the victims of this horrible tragedy. Please continue to pray for all.”
Their private funeral was held on February 7th at the Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar, California.
“Vanessa and the family wanted a private service to mourn their loss,” a source told ET.
“The ceremony was extremely hard for everyone as it’s still hard for them to grasp they lost two beautiful souls.”
The service was held last night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles where the star played basketball for the Lakers throughout his entire 2-decade career.
They chose the 24th as it was the number Kobe sported since the 2006-07 season.
But that’s not the only significance.
And 20 is the number of years Kobe and Vanessa were together for as well as the number of years he played as a Laker.
With millions of people around the world watching the memorial at The Staples Center, gathering outside the venue, or via live streams.
Vanessa delivered an incredibly moving speech…
“First, I’d like to thank everyone for coming today,” she said tearfully.
“The outpouring of love and support my family has felt from around the world has been so uplifting… I’d like to talk about both Kobe and GiGi, but I’d like to start with my baby girl first.”
This was clearly extremely difficult for Vanessa to open up about…
The crowd cheers for Vanessa as she struggles to get her words out.
“My baby girl, Gianna Bryant is an amazingly sweet and gentle soul. She was always thoughtful, she always kissed me goodnight and kissed me good morning. On a few occasions when I was absolutely tired from being up with Bianka and Capri, I thought she had left for school without saying goodbye, so I text and say, ‘no kiss?’ Gianna would reply with, ‘Momma, I kissed you, but you were asleep and I didn’t want to wake you’.”
“But I know she loved her momma,” Vanessa then said.
“She would always tell me how much she loved me, and she was one of my best friends. GiGi would have most likely become the best player in the WNBA… she would have made a huge difference for women’s basketball and she was motivated to change the way everyone viewed women in sports.”
Vanessa then went on to speak of her husband.
“Kobe was known as a fierce competitor on the basketball court, the greatest of all time, a writer, an Oscar winner, and the Black Mamba… but to me, he was Kobe-Kobe, my booboo, my bae-boo, I was his Vee-Bee, his Queen Momma.”
“We balanced each other out, he would do anything for me,” she went on to tearfully say.
“I have no idea how I deserved a man who loved and wanted me more than Kobe. He was charismatic, a gentleman, he was loving, adoring, and romantic… We really had the most amazing love story. We loved each other with our whole beings, making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls.”
“He had to bring them home to heaven together,” Vanessa concluded her speech with:
“Babe, you take care of our GiGi, and I got Nanni, BiBi, and Coco. We’re still the best team, we love and miss you, Booboo and GiGi. May you both rest in peace and have fun in heaven, until we meet again one day.”
Her speech was so difficult to watch…
And it is utterly heartbreaking to see the pain she is currently in.
And this includes Kobe’s eldest daughter, Natalia.
And Natalia has just paid the sweetest tribute to her dad and little sister.
And, ahead of the dance, Natalia posed for photos in front of a mural painted to honor her dad and sister.
Keep scrolling to take a look.
“❤️ my babies. Natalia. #winterformal,” she captioned the post.
There’s been an outpour of love for the family.
R.I.P. to all of the victims of the tragic accident.