LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 18: Kobe Bryant poses with his family at halftime after both his #8 and #24 Los Angeles Lakers jerseys are retired at Staples Center on December 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant’s wife Vanessa posts a heartfelt message to her Instagram after the tragic death of both him and daughter Gianna.

On Sunday, the world of sport seemed like it stopped. Legendary Los Angeles Lakers guard and future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter crash that killed nine people. Another one of the victims was Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna. The accident occurred in Calabasas, CA.

Since then, many have come together to honor Kobe, his daughter, and his legacy, as well as send their regards to his family. Bryant leaves behind his wife Vanessa and daughters Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.

Suffering from such a huge and tragic loss, Vanessa took her time when it came to responding publicly. On Wednesday, she posted a heartfelt message to Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. 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. To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org. To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org. 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 ❤️

A post shared by Vanessa Bryant 🦋 (@vanessabryant) on

Kobe and Vanessa met in 1999, became engaged in 2000, and wed in 2001. The couple would’ve been sharing their 19th wedding anniversary in April of this year.

Bryant and Gianna were on their way to a youth basketball game while in the helicopter. Kobe coached Gianna’s team. Also in the helicopter — and thus victims to the crash — were Orange County College baseball coach John Altobelli, his daughter Alyssa, and his wife Keri. Alyssa was one of Gianna’s teammates.

Kobe’s death is one of the more tragic moments the sports world has ever experienced. His legacy as a five-time NBA champ and 18-time All-Star will live on forever. Simply speaking, he was one of the most gifted players this league ever saw.

Ryan Honey is a senior NFL analyst, betting writer, and podcaster for Elite Sports NY. He hosts the Wide Right Podcast, which serves as both a New York Giants podcast and sports betting show.