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Jamaal Charles releases Jovan Belcher statement

The tragic murder of Kasandra Perkins and suicide of her boyfriend, Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, has hit the community of Kansas City hard. For Jamaal Charles, he lost not only a teammate but a family member.

His wife was cousins with Perkins, and he introduced Belcher to Perkins. On Monday, Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles spoke for the first time through a statement.

"Our family has suffered a personal tragic loss," Charles and his wife, Whitney, said. "Kassandra Perkins was in-fact first cousin to my wife, Whitney. As this is a very tough time for our family, I ask that we are respected as we grieve. Kassandra was not only family, but a friend and a loving mother. As my actual family and my Kansas City Chiefs family have been altered forever, we ask that you keep us and most importantly their child in prayer.

"Thank you all for your continued support."

The Perkins family also spoke for the first time through a statement.

"On behalf of the Perkins Family, we appreciate the outpouring of love and concern for our Kassandra "Kasi" Perkins," the statement read. "Our hearts are truly broken for Kasi was a beloved daughter, granddaughter, sister, mother, cousin and friend. At this time we request the media respect our privacy during this difficult time as we grieve for our loved one. Please keep us in your hearts and prayers as well as the Belcher family for two lives were loss. Again we thank you for your support, our wish is for Kasi to be remembered for the love she shared with us all. Kasi will be truly missed!"

UPDATE: Yamiesse Lawrence, one of Belcher's cousins, said in a statement read outside Belcher's childhood home in West Babylon, N.Y., that word can't express the family's sorrow. Her family is "overwhelmed with both sadness and confusion," Lawrence said, according to The Associated Press.

She also said her family extends its thoughts and prayers to the Perkins family.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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