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Vanessa Bryant remembers husband Kobe, daughter Gianna during LA memorial

In her emotional first public words since the death of her NBA star husband, Kobe, and 13-year-old daughter, Vanessa Bryant remembered her loved ones lost during a Los Angeles memorial service to the victims of last month’s helicopter tragedy.

Dressed in all black, Bryant spoke first about daughter Gianna, at points sniffling and choking back tears, but moving forward with resolve.

“Gianna Bryant was an amazingly sweet and gentle soul,” she said. “She was one of my very best friends.

“I loved the way she looked up at me while hugging me,” she continued. “It was as if she was soaking me all in.”

Bryant then spoke of her “soulmate,” Kobe, speaking to a tender side that many on the hardwood never saw.

“Kobe was known as a fierce competitor on the basketball court,” she said. But to Vanessa, “He was my sweet husband and the beautiful father of our children. “He was my everything.”

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BASKET-NBA-BRYANT-MEMORIAL
Kobe Bryant's wife Vanessa Bryant speaks during the "Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" service at Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles.

AFP via Getty Images

BASKET-NBA-BRYANT-MEMORIAL
BASKET-NBA-BRYANT-MEMORIAL
Kobe Bryant's wife Vanessa Bryant speaks during the "Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" service at Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles.

AFP via Getty Images