Kobe Bryant wrote a tribute to his wife of almost 20 years weeks before his death: 'On this day I met my best friend'

Chelsea Ritschel

Kobe Bryant shared a touching tribute to his wife of almost 20 years just weeks before he died in a helicopter crash alongside the couple’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna.

In November, the former NBA player, who died at the age of 41, shared two photos to Instagram, where he called his wife Vanessa Laine Bryant his “Queen” and the couple’s four daughters his “princesses” in celebration of the anniversary of the day they met.

“On this day 20 years ago I met my best friend, my Queen Vanessa Bryant,” the father-of-four captioned the photos of him and his wife.

“I decided to take her on a date to Disneyland tonight to celebrate old school style (pre four princesses) I love you mamacita per sempre.”

In the first photo, the couple, who met in 1999, pose together with their arms around one another.

The second photo shows the couple 20 years later, pictured in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland.

Kobe, who was 20 at the time and playing for the NBA, met Vanessa when she was 17 and still in high school.

After meeting on the set of a music video, where Vanessa was working part-time as a model, the pair became engaged six months later - before marrying in April 2001.

The couple had four daughters together - Natalia, 17, Gianna, Bianka, three, and Capri, seven months.

As tributes pour in for the basketball legend, fans are also remembering and honouring the relationship he had with his wife and his family.

“Scrolled through Kobe Bryant’s Instagram and all I saw was a legend, a family man who loves his daughters and wife so much,” one person wrote on Twitter. “Not gonna lie, it made me tear up.”

Another said: “The most heartbreaking part is that if you look at Kobe Bryant’s Instagram feed, it is just full of family.”

The anniversary post was just one of many times Kobe publicly expressed his love for his family. Seven days ago, the former Lakers player celebrated Natalia’s birthday with an Instagram post, where he wrote: “Happy birthday my baby. I love you beyond measure. You will always be my little principessa.”

And, in the hours after the news of the NBA star and his daughter’s death, a clip of the pair happily chatting court side during a December match between the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks at New York’s Barclays Center went viral.

The father and daughter were among nine who died in the helicopter crash in Calabasas.

---Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK---