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Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 10:55 am


In her first public statement since the funerals of her mother, brother and nephew last week, Jennifer Hudson used her MySpace page to thank fans for their encouragement and support following the tragedy.


       “I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” the 27-year-old Oscar-winner said in a posting Thursday evening. “My sister and I take great comfort and strength from your love and concern.”


      As previously reported, The Gap had considered removing Hudson from its new holiday ads following the murders, but decided to keep the artist after Hudson gave her approval.


       “We felt that it was really important first and foremost to respect what she wanted to do, so as long as she felt comfortable with her campaign being out there, we felt comfortable,” Olivia Doyne, director of engagement marketing and public relations for Gap, told the Associated Press.      

       The company’s new print, store and billboard ads were unveiled Thursday and also feature Mary-Louise Parker, Jason Bateman, Rainn Wilson, Ashanti and Seth Myers.      

       Hudson’s photos for the campaign were taken in July, some three months before the Oct. 24 shooting deaths of her 57-year-old mother, Darnell Donerson; her brother, 29-year-old Jason Hudson; and her 7-year-old nephew Julian King.      

       “The minute we heard about the tragedy, we actually contacted her management team to ask if she wanted to participate or if she wanted us to pull her out of it,” said Doyne. “They checked in with her and said that she still wanted to participate. It was definitely our first thought.”      

       Doyne said Gap Inc. wasn’t concerned that Hudson’s presence in the ads would register sadness instead of holiday cheer.      

       “Her pictures are absolutely gorgeous. She just looks incredible and she’s got such this big, beautiful personality and I think (it) came through on the photos really well,” said Doyne. “So I really hope that despite all the heartbreak that’s been happening, she’ll still bring a smile to people’s faces.”


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