“[It’s] 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,” Keys said. “Because earlier today, Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero,” Keys told the crowd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. “And we are all literally standing here in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”
Keys and the R&B group performed the band’s 1991 hit “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” as silence filled the arena. “We never thought in a million years we’d have to start the show like this,” Keys said.
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were aboard a helicopter when it crashed near Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning. Los Angeles County Sheriffs stated that all nine people aboard the helicopter were killed in the crash.
“Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act,” Barack Obama said in a statement. “To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.”