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'It should've been me': Vanessa Bryant pens heart-wrenching birthday note to Kobe Bryant

"Our lives feel so empty without you and Gigi. I've been completely broken inside," Vanessa Bryant wrote in an Instagram post.
Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul And Carmelo Anthony Host The Gentlemen's Supper Club \"A Toast To Kobe Bryant\"
Vanessa Bryant and Kobe Bryant share a kiss during The Gentleman's Supper Club in Toronto on Feb. 13, 2016.Bobby Metelus / FilmMagic via Getty Images

Vanessa Bryant, wife of the late NBA star Kobe Bryant, has penned a heartfelt letter to the basketball icon on what would have been his 42nd birthday.

Bryant posted the letter on her private Instagram to her nearly 14 million followers on Sunday, screenshots of which circulated widely on Twitter, saying she loved and missed her husband and daughter Gigi Bryant "more than I can ever explain."

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

In the post, Bryant thanked her husband for teaching her how to deal with the hardships she's faced, how to be strong and how to "see the best in people but cut out the B.S."

She also described wanting to break down, but keeping a positive attitude in order to help their children cope with the loss of their father.

"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," she wrote.

She went on to say how much she wished she could bring Kobe Bryant and Gigi home to surprise their daughters and "wake up from this horrible nightmare."

In the post, Bryant went on to say she wished she would have died before her husband and daughter so she wouldn't have to live without them: "I'm mad I didn't go first. ... It should've been me."

"I know my Gigi is celebrating you like she always has on our special days. I miss my thoughtful princess so much," she wrote.

She concluded the post by wishing Bryant a happy birthday, and adding, "I love you now, forever and for always."

Kobe Bryant, Gigi Bryant, and seven others were killed in January after their helicopter crashed in the Los Angeles area.

Bryant, who won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, was 41 at the time of his death and his daughter Gigi was 13.

Earlier this month, officials in Orange County declared Aug. 24, the day after Kobe Bryant's birthday, would be Kobe Bryant Day.

Bryant, a resident of Orange County, California, wore the numbers 8 and 24 during his professional basketball career, which is why the board decided on the date to commemorate him, Orange County Board Chairwoman Michelle Steel explained at the recent meeting, according to The Orange County Register.