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Alicia Keys opens Grammys with heartfelt Kobe Bryant tribute

As stars gathered at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for music's biggest night, the 62nd Grammy Awards somberly began in the shadow of the loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. The retired Los Angeles Lakers star died in a helicopter crash alongside eight others in California on Sunday.

Alicia Keys, who is hosting the Grammys for the second year in a row, honored Bryant in her opening monologue.

Alicia Keys Pays Tribute To Kobe Bryant In 2020 GRAMMY Awards Opening by CBS on YouTube

"Here we are. Together. On music's biggest night, celebrating the artists that do it best. But to be honest with you, we're all feeling crazy sadness right now," she said. "Earlier today, Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero. We're literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built."

The Staples Center was Bryant's home court and ahead of the Grammys red carpet, mourners gathered outside the arena to remember the late star who brought the city five NBA championships.
 
"Right now, Kobe and his daughter, Gianna, and all of those that have been tragically lost today are in our spirit, they're in our hearts, they're in our prayers. They're in this building. I would like to ask everybody to take a moment and just hold them inside of you," she continued. "Hold them inside of you. And share our strength and our support with their families."

Alicia Keys, Boyz II Men — Grammys 2020
Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men sing in memory of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards on January 26, 2020, in Los Angeles. Getty

 Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was among the nine victims of the helicopter crash. 

"We never imagined in a million years we would have to start the show like this. Never, never, never, never, never. But we wanted to do something that could describe a teeny bit how we all feel right now," Keys said as Boyz II Men joined her on stage to sing "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday."
 
She closed her speech by reminding the audience that music is "the most healing thing in the world."

"We're going to sing together, we're going to laugh together. We're going to dance together. We're going to cry together. We're going to bring it all together," Keys said. "We're going to love together and we're going to make sure that we are celebrating the most powerful energy, the most beautiful thing in the world, the one thing that has the power to bring all of us together. And that's music. It's the most healing thing in the world."

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