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Vanessa Bryant remembers late daughter Gianna at her jersey retirement: 'Mommy is still and will always be so proud of you mamacita'

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Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa shared her grief over the loss of her 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who died alongside the NBA legend, Wednesday on Instagram.

“God I miss you. I’ve been so lucky to have woken up to see your gorgeous face and amazing smile for 13 years,” Bryant wrote in the first of several posts. “Wish it would’ve been until my last breath. Mommy loves you to the moon and back. Infinity plus 1.”

The caption accompanied a photo taken at a ceremony at Gianna’s middle school to retire the teen’s jersey. She posted several videos of students and faculty members remembering Gigi.

Gianna and Kobe Bryant were two of the nine passengers who died in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. They had been on their way to a basketball tournament.

Earlier Wednesday, Vanessa paid tribute to Kobe, calling him “my best friend” and “the best daddy.”

“Miss you so much,” wrote Vanessa, whose other three daughters with Kobe are Natalia, 17; Bianka, 3; and 7-month-old Capri. “Miss you saying, ‘Bonjourno principessa/reina.’”

She also shared a video interview with ExtraTV featuring her late husband answering rapid-fire questions about his life, including Kobe saying that his best friend is “my wife” and that his daughters call him “Daddy.”

Three days after the crash, Vanessa posted a family photo to Instagram, thanking mourners for their thoughts “during this horrific time.”

“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,” Vanessa wrote, in part. “We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately.”

Explaining “there aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now,” Vanessa wrote, “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.”

She continued, “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....”

Kobe and Vanessa married in April 2001. A source recently told People, “...A lot of families have parents that constantly work and kids that are being raised by nannies. The Bryants have always been different. The focus on family has always been a priority. Vanessa is a stay-at-home mom and after Kobe stopped playing basketball, the main focus has been about raising their daughters.” Kobe retired from the NBA in 2016.

The source also told the outlet that Kobe was a “very involved” father, explaining, “You could tell he was intensely proud of his daughters. The fact that Gigi got so interested and invested in playing basketball herself, it was obvious that Kobe just loved it. It wasn’t anything that he encouraged her to do; she decided on her own that she wanted to play. He felt very privileged that he was able to coach her. They had an amazing relationship.”

“Just in general, Kobe was very proud that both of his older girls were hard working at school and seemed to get his principles of life,” said the source. “He wanted them to always work hard and to not complain.”

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