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MLK's daughter Bernice reflects on losing dad shortly after 5th birthday: 'Miss you still'

One week after Bernice King's 5th birthday, she had to grapple with the loss of her father.
/ Source: TODAY

Bernice King only had five years with her father, Martin Luther King Jr., but she has spent her lifetime carrying on his legacy.

On Sunday, the 53rd anniversary of the civil rights leader's assassination, King paid tribute to her father and reflected on losing him at such a young age.

"53 years ago today. One week after my 5th birthday. You were gone," she wrote on Twitter. "Assassinated for answering a call to conscience, for speaking truth to power, for being a drum major for justice who sought to rid the world of racism, militarism and poverty. I miss you. Still. Always."

King also shared a moving photo of herself face-to-face with a statue of her late father at what appears to be the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The slain activist and his wife, Coretta Scott King, had four children. Now 58, Bernice King serves as the CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. hugs his daughter Bernice as his wife, Coretta, and son Martin III joyfully look on as they greet him at airport upon his release from prison after incarceration for leading boycotts.

Ahead of the anniversary of her father's death, King also shared a video of his final speech, which he gave in the evening of April 3, 1968, to an overflowing crowd in Memphis, Tennessee.

"I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land," he said.

The following evening, King was fatally shot while standing on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead one hour later. He was 39.

Decades later, King's memory lives on through the people he's inspired and through his own family.

His granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King, 12, recently spoke with TODAY about her iconic grandparents, especially grandmother Coretta Scott King, who died in 2006 at age 78.

“She did a lot,” Yolanda King said of her grandma. “And what most people don't know, and they don't acknowledge it as much, is that she was a human rights activist, so that didn't mean just racial equality. She worked on rights for the LGBTQ community. She worked on women's rights."

While King never met her grandparents, she said she feels connected to them.

“It wasn't until I was 9, probably, that I kind of started to realize more the significance of my family,” said Yolanda King, who’s the daughter of Martin Luther King III and Arndrea Waters King. “It just kind of snapped.”