By now you’ve almost certainly heard the news that has devastated sports fans the world over.
On Sunday, basketball legend Kobe Bryant was killed alongside his and seven other victims when their helicopter went down in Calabasas, California.
Kobe was just 41 years old.
His daughter, Gianna, was only 13.
The loss of such a beloved figure as Kobe Bryant is one that transcends generations and cultural barriers.
But of course, no one is suffering quite as acutely as the wife and three daughters that Bryant left behind.
Sources close to the Bryant family say that Vanessa’s primary goal at this point is supporting her daughters, who range in age from six months to 17 years.
But the 37-year-old mom is only human, and insiders tell The New York Post that she’s struggling to “keep it together” and “can’t finish a sentence without crying,”
“Despite their ups and downs, [the couple] were soulmates. She thought of him as her partner for life,” says one source, identified only as a friend of the family.
The insider describes Vanessa as “devastated.”
“She can hardly keep it together,’’ the source adds.
“She 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.”
Family friends say Vanessa is surrounded by a strong support network, but her loved ones are limited in their ability to lend assistance, as none of them has ever experienced such a loss.
“[Vanessa] is surrounded by people who love her and love Kobe,” the friend adds.
“She has a good support system. She is relying on her faith. She is not alone,” she continues.
“It’s an extremely difficult and devastating time for Vanessa and the whole family.”
The insider adds that Kobe’s daughters have been inconsolable, noting that “he had a special bond with each of them.”
“He was so proud to see [them] take after not only him and Vanessa but also grow into their own,” says the source.
Our thoughts go out to the Bryant family during this unimaginably difficult time.