Natalia Bryant tragically lost her father Kobe Bryant and younger sis Gianna earlier this year — and the 17-year-old is missing her late dad’s “big bear hugs”. She paid tribute to her father in a heartrending Instagram post on August 23: what would have been his 42nd birthday. “Happy Birthday Dad I miss your smile, laugh and big bear hugs. Happy Birthday to the best movie buddy I could have ever asked for,” she captioned the throwback photo of the pair. “I will always remember our late night drives to the movie theater with the windows rolled down and listening to our favorite songs. I love you forever and always. Always, Slim”
The sweet photo showed a very young Natalia in her dad’s arms with a face painting of Elmo on her cheek and a pink headband around her tiny head. Kobe looked at his daughter adoringly and laughed with her as he put his hand near her chin.
Kobe’s wife Vanessa Bryant has also opened up about the tremendous loss her family has suffered, and paid tribute to her late husband. “Happy Birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain,” she began. “I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU! I wish I could make your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi. I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud a** deep laugh.”