Kobe Bryant and Vanessa Looked Ahead to '2020' With New Year's Day Photo

Just weeks before a fatal helicopter crash that would claim his life and the life of his 13-year-old daughter, Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa Bryant were looking forward to what the new year would bring. In a Jan. 1-dated photo shared to Vanessa's now public Instagram account, the couple fondly rested their heads against one another, Vanessa simply writing, "2020." The image, which was also shared to Bryant's own account without caption, has gained hundreds of thousands of likes.

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A post shared by Vanessa Bryant 🦋 (@vanessabryant) on

The post, just like many others, is a somber reminder of how Bryant's life, as well as the lives of the eight other people aboard his Sikorsky S-76B helicopter, was cut short. The group, which included the couple's daughter Gianna as well as two of her teammates, had been traveling to Mamba Sports Academy for a basketball game when the aircraft encountered dense fog and crashed into a Calabasas, California hillside. There were no survivors.

In the wake of the tragedy, fans have flooded social media to pay tribute to Bryant, whose NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers spanned two decades, during which he was named an NBA All-Star 18 times and was a member of five championship teams.

Social media has also paid tribute to Gianna, who was set to follow in her father's footsteps and had dreams of playing for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team before one day making it to the WNBA.

On Wednesday, three days after the crash that claimed her husband and daughter's lives, Vanessa officially broke her silence, writing in a tribute piece that she and daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months, "are completely devastated by the sudden loss."

"There aren't enough words to describe our pain right now," she continued. "I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I'm not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it's impossible to imagine life without them."

"Our love for them is endless — and that's to say, immeasurable," she wrote. "I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever."

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Vanessa, along with the Mamba Sports Academy, has created the MambaOnThree fund to help raise money for the families of the seven other victims – John Altobelli, his wife Keri Altobelli, and their daughter Alyssa, Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan.