The audience at the Grammy Awards pre-show event today observed a moment of silence to honour basketball player Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash earlier in the day.
The Awards ceremony was held at the Staples Center, where Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers played.
Bryant, alongside his 13-year-old daughter and seven others, were killed when the helicopter they were travelling in came down in Calabasas in southern California.
The Grammy Awards will be live on TVNZ 2 from 2pm on Monday January 27, repeated on the Duke channel at 8.30pm.
The 2020 Grammy Awards kicked off in tribute to basketball icon Kobe Bryant, who died hours before the show, with a touching, emotional performance led by host Alicia Keys.
Keys was joined by Boyz II Men today to sing an a capella version of “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” at the Staples Center — Bryant’s stomping ground — as the audience watched in awe.
“Here we are together on music’s biggest night celebrating the artists that do it best, but to be honest with you we are all feeling crazy sadness right now,” Keys said as she entered the stage, adding that “Los Angeles, America and the world-wide world lost a hero.”
She said the audience was “heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”
“Right now Kobe and his daughter Gianna ... are in our spirits, they’re in our hearts, they’re in prayers, they’re in this building,” she added. “Take a moment and hold them inside of you and share our strength and our support with their families.”
Before the show officially honoured Bryant, Lizzo performed the songs “Truth Hurts” and “Cuz I Love You,” saying at the top of the show: “Tonight is for Kobe.”