Grammy Awards host Alicia Keys took time out of Sunday’s broadcast to remember Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
The five-time NBA champion, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed earlier in the day, when the helicopter they were in crashed in Calabasas. The incident occurred just before 10 a.m. in foggy conditions and ignited a brush fire.
After Lizzo opened the Grammys, Keys took the stage to pay her respects to Bryant.
“Here we are together on Music’s Biggest Night,” Keys said. “But to be honest with you, we’re all feeling crazy sad right now because earlier today, Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero, and we’re literally standing in here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”
“Right now Kobe and his daughter Gianna, and all of those that have been tragically lost today are in our spirits. They’re in our hearts. They’re in our prayers. They’re in this building,” she continued.
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The tribute was fitting because Bryant was beloved in Los Angeles and for years played in the Staples Center where the Lakers hold home games.
Keys said Bryant’s death left Grammys organizers in shock.
“We never imagined in a million years we’d have to start the show like this. Never, never, never, never. So we wanted to do something that would describe, just a tiny bit, how we all feel right now. just a tiny bit, how we all feel right now,” she explained.
Keys then began to sing an a capella version of the Boyz II Men song “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday,” and was joined by the R&B group.
At the end of the song, Keys said, “We love you Kobe.” Bryant’s two jerseys, number 8 and number 24, were illuminated near the ceiling of the Staples Center.