David Beckham is mourning the loss of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna following their deaths in a Calabasas, California, helicopter crash. In an emotional tribute shared to his Instagram account last week, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star honored his "special" friend and his lasting legacy on the entire sports world.
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"It's taken me hours to work out what to write and still my words won't ever be enough to describe how I am feeling after the tragic loss of Kobe," he began. "This was one special athlete, husband, father and friend. Having to write these words is hard enough but also knowing we have lost an amazing human being and his beautiful and talented daughter Gianna is heartbreaking."
"The commitment Kobe showed to his sport was inspiring, to go through the pain and to finish a game off like only he could inspired me to try to be better," he continued. "Sometimes I would only go to games just to watch that clock go down to the last 2:00 minutes knowing that we were about to witness something special."
Beckham went on to recall how much of a family man Bryant was and the close relationship that he had with his four daughters – Gianna, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.
"Kobe always talked about Vanessa and his beautiful girls and how proud he was of them," he wrote. "Kobe's passion was his family and basketball. He was determined to inspire the next generation of boys and girls to embrace the sport that he loved. His legacy will live on."
"My family's love and prayers go out to Vanessa and the girls, to Kobe's basketball family, and of course to the families of those who were tragically lost with him yesterday..." he concluded.
Beckham's wife, former Spice Girl member Victoria Beckham, also paid emotional tribute to the late NBA legend and his daughter on her own account, sharing an art piece of Bryant and Gianna with halos.
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"This tragic loss struck us hard as a family," she wrote. "Kobe Bryant was an incredible figure on and off the court, a friend to David and determined to inspire the next generation. The loss of a daughter and husband is unthinkable for any parent and wife."
"David, myself and our family send all our love to Vanessa, the other girls and the families of those that were tragically lost with Kobe yesterday," she added.