Vanessa Bryant says Kobe and Gianna's deaths 'don't seem real' one year on

Vanessa Bryant has said the deaths of her husband Kobe and daughter Gianna ‘still don’t seem real’ one year on.

Today marks the first anniversary of the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.

The night before the anniversary, Kobe’s widow Vanessa shared a letter from one of Gianna’s friends, which described the effect the teenager had on those around her.

Gigi’s friend Aubrey wrote: ‘Recently I have been thinking about the mark she did leave on this earth. Her fights for equality in sports made the world reconsider their options, she along with Mr Bryant set the wheels in motion.

‘But on a lower level, on behalf of every person who came across her, I can say she changed our lives. Her simple actions made all of us a better person, and I believe the results of this will never stop appearing.’

The letter also celebrated Gigi’s ‘love of life’, with Aubrey calling her friend ‘kind, caring and endlessly polite’ and ‘an angel’. 

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Vanessa, 38, wrote in the caption: ‘Today I received this sweet letter from one of Gianna’s best friends, Aubrey. I love you Aubz (as my Gigi would call you). Thank you so much for beautifully sharing some of your memories of my Gigi with me and allowing me to share them here on my ig. My Gigi is INCREDIBLE and I truly appreciate your thoughtful letter. She loves you so much. 

‘I miss my baby girl and Kob-Kob so much, too. ♥️I will never understand why/how this tragedy could’ve happened to such beautiful, kind and amazing human beings. It still doesn’t seem real. 

‘Kob, we did it right. Gigi, you still make mommy proud. I love you! #PlayGigisWay #Mambacita #Mamba #DaddysGirl #GirlDad.’

Fans and friends shared their condolences and prayers with Vanessa in the comments section.

Vanessa was married to Kobe, 41, for 19 years and they had four daughters together – Natalie, 18, Gianna, 13, Bianka, four, and one-year-old Capri.

The family was torn apart on January 26, 2020, when a helicopter taking Kobe and Gianna to Mamba Sports Academy in California for a girls basketball tournament crashed.

The accident killed the father and daughter, as well as seven others – John Altobelli, his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, basketball coach Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, and pilot Ara Zobayan.

The sports world was shaken by the loss of Kobe, considered one of the greatest NBA players of all time, and Gianna, who was following in her father’s footsteps as a basketball player/ 

Ahead of the anniversary, Vanessa asked that the media be ‘respectful’ in their coverage, and remember the lives lost rather than the accident that took them.

Sharing a picture of her late partner and daughter, she wrote on Instagram: ‘I want to thank everyone that has handled their media coverage respectfully. ♥️

‘To everyone else, please reconsider your “news story” and look at your footage through the eyes of their children , parents, spouse, siblings and family. Celebrate their lives, not the day they lost them.’

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