Kobe Bryant‘s sisters have spoken out nearly one week after the NBA legend’s tragic death in a helicopter crash that also killed his 13-year-old daughter Gianna along with seven other people. Sharia Washington and Shaya Tabb reached out to iOne Digital to exclusively release the first public statement from the family after the tragedy in Southern California on Sunday morning.
The statement was accompanied by some personal family photos of themselves with Bryant, 41, as well as others featuring Gianna, their children, parents and more.
Their statement follows:
“On behalf of our family, we join Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka and Capri in grieving the loss of Kobe and Gianna in such a tragic accident.
“We are devastated by the loss of our brother, son, our niece and granddaughter, and our hearts go out to all the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday. Our lives are forever changed.
“Thank you for your prayers, the numerous calls, texts, emails and cards.
Naturally, it’s taken some time for the family of Kobe and Gianna to speak out. It wasn’t until Wednesday that Kobe’s wife of nearly 20 years, Vanessa Bryant, on Wednesday posted an Instagram picture of Kobe and their four daughters. In the caption, she thanked the millions of people who have been showing her family love and support during “this horrific time.”
She continued, “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.”
She went on to describe their love for Kobe and Gianna, nicknamed Gigi, as “immeasurable.” Vanessa wrote, “I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever.”
To honor them, she explained, “Our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy.” She also posted the donation link.
Along with family, many stars have spoken out after the tragic helicopter crash, especially former Los Angeles Lakers athletes. Shaquille O’Neal‘s statement was one of the most emotional ones with him tweeting, “There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of losing my niece Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW.”
Arrangements for Kobe and Gianna’s funeral had not been announced as of Friday morning.
Scroll down to see some family pictures that Sharia Bryant shared exclusively with iOne Digital.
From left: Shaya Tabb, Kobe Bryant, Sharia Washington
From left: Kobe Bryant, his mother Pam Bryant, his father Joe “Jellybean” Bryant
Shaya Tabb’s children are shown with Kobe Bryant’s daughters.
4. Personal Kobe Bryant family photos from his sister, Sharia WashingtonSource:Sharia Washington
Sharia Washington’s children are shown with Kobe Bryant’s daughters.
From left: Sharia Washington, Pam Bryant, Shaya Tabb, Joe Bryant and Kobe Bryant pose at Shaya Tabb’s wedding.