The family of an American soldier recently released after five years of captivity by the Taliban has released a statement thanking supporters for their prayers and kindness.

Family friend Debbie O'Neall emailed the statement on behalf of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's family late Monday morning.

O'Neall said the family would like to thank every Facebook supporter and friend for the love and support given during the last five years and the past 10 days since Bergdahl's release. O'Neall wrote that the support has meant the world to the family, and said they apologize for not being able to return every phone call, message and email. She asked that their privacy be respected.

O'Neall said she's not the family's spokesperson, but agreed to send out this one-time message at Bob and Jani Bergdahl's request.