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Vanessa Bryant 'Can Hardly Keep It Together' But Is Being 'Strong' For Her Girls

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By Whitney Vasquez

Vanessa Bryant is struggling in the days after losing her husband, Kobe Bryant, and 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, but she's trying to be "strong" for her other three girls. While she's been at the forefront of everyone's minds following the news that the NBA star and their teenage daughter lost their lives after their helicopter crashed and burst into flames on Sunday, January 26, a friend is opening up about Vanessa's mindset. "It’s an extremely difficult and devastating time for Vanessa and the whole family,” the source told PEOPLE.

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Can't Talk Without Crying:

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“She can hardly keep it together,” the insider said. “She can’t finish a sentence without crying." Revealing "she is working very hard to pull it together for the other girls," the family friend added that Vanessa Bryant "now has to be the strong one.” Kobe Bryant and Vanessa wed in 2001 when he was 22 and she was only 18. Together they shared four children -- Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, 7-month-old Capri, and of course, GiGi. The Lakers legend often described his joy of being a "girl dad."

Surrounded By Loved Ones:

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The insider continued, “Of course, you can never be prepared for this. Despite their ups and downs, [Vanessa and Kobe] were soulmates. She thought of him as her partner for life.” Vanessa Bryant has reportedly been comforted by loved ones following the news of her husband and daughter's unexpected death two days ago. A second source told PEOPLE that she's "surrounded by people who love her and love Kobe. She has a good support system." She is also leaning on her faith.

It Won't Be Easy:

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"She is relying on her faith. She is not alone. But she will be grieving this for a very long time,” the source explained. As The Blast reported, Kobe Bryant and his daughter, along with 7 other people, died in a helicopter crash while on their way to a youth basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Academy. Months before his death, Kobe Bryant gushed over his bride and detailed his love for his "queen" Vanessa Bryant on the anniversary of when they met.

NBA Speaks Out:

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"'On this day 20 years ago I met my best friend, my Queen @vanessabryant I decided to take her on a date to Disneyland tonight to celebrate old school style (pre 4princesses) I love you my mamacita per sempre,” he wrote on Instagram in November. The duo celebrated their anniversary at Disneyland together. Following his untimely passing, his NBA brothers like LeBron James, Magic Johnson, and Lamar Odom, have paid tribute to the Lakers legend. Many have included Vanessa Bryant and his girls in their prayers.

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