The 2020 Grammy Awards kicked off on a somber note, with a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, who died earlier in the day in a helicopter accident. Standing on stage in the Staples Center, the home of his team the LA Lakers, host Alicia Keys honored Kobe Bryant with a performance of "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday" featuring Boyz II Men.
"We're all feeling crazy sadness right now because earlier today, Los Angeles, America, and the whole wide world lost a hero," Keys said when she took the stage on Sunday, Jan. 26. "And we're literally standing here heartbroken, in the house that Kobe Bryant built." She continued, paying tribute to Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the other victims of the fatal helicopter crash that occurred this morning in Calabasas. "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." The singer and host then began to sing "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday" a cappella before being joined by Boyz II Men. The audience was silent and clearly moved by the performance, which set the tone for the night.
Earlier on Sunday, news broke that Bryant had died in a helicopter crash in California. It has since been confirmed that his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others on board were also killed in the crash, though all the victims have not yet been identified. Bustle reached out to representatives for Bryant, but did not receive an immediate response.
Keys' tribute to Bryant was one of many. Lizzo started the show with a powerful performance, declaring at the top that "Tonight's for Kobe!" The Staples Center also illuminated Bryant's retired jerseys — numbers 8 and 24 — on display in the stadium.