The internet's heart was broken when it was revealed that legendary NBA player, Kobe Bryant, and his thirteen-year-old daughter, had died in a helicopter crash earlier this year.

Today, Kobe's wife, Vanessa, who is celebrating her birthday, got the best gift when she discovered an unopened love letter from the late star. Keep scrolling for the heartwrenching post...

Bryant was a true basketball star.

His father, Joe Bryant, was also a professional NBA player, and Kobe began playing basketball professionally straight out of high school.

He was a true legend in the sport.

By his second season, Kobe had been named an All-Star.

When he was just thirty-four years old, Kobe became the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points.

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And on February 1st of 2010, it was announced Kobe was the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history.

His achievements didn't end there.

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Kobe also won 2 gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.

He was a massive success off the court, too.

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In 2018, Kobe won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for Dear Basketball.

Kobe retired after the 2015-16 season.

But he stayed busy, focusing on many other career pursuits - alongside raising his family.

In 1999, Kobe met Vanessa Laine.

The pair were both just 17-years-old but quickly fell in love - becoming engaged after only 6 months of dating.

Vanessa and Kobe married in 2001.

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Their first daughter was then born in 2003.

They shared 4 daughters.

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Their eldest was Natalia, who's seventeen, followed by Gianna, followed by Bianka, aged 3, and Capri, aged just 7 months.

And he loved being a dad.

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As this photo of the Bryants in full family Halloween costume proves.

Kobe frequently used helicopters for travel.

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But tragically, earlier this year, his private helicopter went down and a "fire broke out," TMZ reported.

It was the most devastating news...

Kobe left behind his wife and their daughters - Natalia and Bianca, and their newborn, Capri.

Bryant's daughter, Gianna, was also on board the helicopter at the time of the crash.

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Gianna, aged thirteen, tragically died in the crash with her dad, on their way to the Mamba Academy for basketball practice, nearby Thousand Oaks.

Gianna was Kobe's second-eldest daughter.

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She was set to follow in Kobe's footsteps and would often accompany Kobe to basketball games. In fact, from childhood, Gianna would participate in the team warm-ups.

Gianna was reportedly a true talent.

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And many thought she was set for an illustrious basketball career.

Kobe and Gianna were also very close.

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The 2 often pictured giggling and smiling together, and it's clear she was the apple of her father's eye.

Heartbreaking footage has emerged showing the aftermath of the tragedy.

The clip, uploaded to Twitter, shows smoke emerging from the crash site as emergency services respond to the devastating incident.

Tributes poured in for the victims.

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It's clear Kobe was an absolutely beloved presence in the celebrity world - and will be horribly missed. The basketball star has been given the greatest tribute of all time, keep scrolling to watch the video...

3 months on from the tragic deaths...

And Vanessa Bryant has marked her first birthday without her daughter and husband.

The star turned thirty-eight today.

But she got the best gift when she discovered an unopened love letter Kobe had written for her.

The star revealed she had made the discovery yesterday and waited to open it on her birthday.

"Yesterday I found an envelope labeled To: The Love of my Life. From, Tu Papi." she wrote on Instagram.

"I waited to open one more letter on my birthday. It gave me something to look forward to today."

She continued: "The irony is that Kobe had a photo of me drawn with an Angel holding me up by an artist on the cover. Missing the Love of my Life and my sweet little Mamacita- my fellow Taurus. "Grateful to wake up to my 3 sweet girls today. Wish we were all together. #MyBirthdayWish," she concluded her caption.

Here's Vanessa's full post:

Utterly heartbreaking.