Kobe Bryant wife's heartbreaking tribute on what would have been late star's birthday

Feb 14, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Western Conference forward Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers (24) blows kisses before the NBA All Star Game at Air Canada Centre. [Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports]

Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, posted a heartbreaking tribute to her late husband on what would have been his 42nd birthday. (August 23rd)

NBA legend Bryant, one of the greatest basketball players of all-time, tragically passed away in a helicopter crash in California on January 26.

The LA Lakers hero was one of nine people to be killed when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, with 13-year-old daughter Gianni also amongst the victims.

Wife Vanessa paid an emotional tribute to both her husband and daughters on what would have been Kobe’s birthday, sharing an image of the pair.

She wrote: “To my baby~ Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain. I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU!

"I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi. I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh.

“I miss teasing you, making you laugh and bursting your bubble. I miss you sitting on my lap like my big baby that you are.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 15: NBA player Kobe Bryant and wife Vanessa in the audiebce during the 2009 ESPY awards held at Nokia Theatre LA Live on July 15, 2009 in Los Angeles, California (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for ESPY)

“I think about your tenderness and patience all the time. I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way.

“Thank you for growing up with me and teaching me how to be strong. How to try to see the best in people but cutout the bs.

“Your thoughtful gestures and the amazing way you made us all feel is extremely missed. I picture your smile and wide big welcoming hugs daily.

“God I miss you both so much. Our lives feel so empty without you and Gigi. I’ve been completely broken inside.

“As much as I want to cry, I put a smile on my face to make our daughters days shine a little brighter. I’m not the strong one, they are. They’re strong and resilient. I’m sure you’re proud of them. They put a smile on my face everyday.

“I wish I could wake up from this horrible nightmare. I wish I could surprise our girls and welcome you and Gigi home to us.

“I’m mad I didn’t go first. I always wanted to go first so that I selfishly didn’t have to feel this heartache. You were supposed to miss me.

“Gigi was supposed to be here with her sisters. It should’ve been me. There’s so much I wish I could tell you and show you and Gigi.

“So many things you would both be happy to see and be a part of. So many milestones for our girls. So many things you would be proud of.

“I’m so thankful I have pieces of heaven here on earth to wake up for- thanks to YOU.

“Thank you for loving me enough to last several lifetimes. In every lifetime I would choose YOU. Thank you for showing me what real love is. Thank YOU for everything.

"I know my Gigi is celebrating you like she always has on our special days. I miss my thoughtful princess so much! Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, Capri and I wish you a happy birthday my love. I love you for now, forever and for always. #amoreterno 42”