Grammys to turn into Bryant tribute
Kobe Bryant's iconic home stadium the Staples Centre is playing host to the Grammy Awards today following news of his tragic death in a helicopter crash.
The 62nd annual music awards show is a matter of hours away following months of planning, but the death of the 41-year-old Los Angeles Lakers legend is expected to dominate the ceremony at the last minute.
Early reports indicate pop singer Alicia Keys, who had planned a song mashup to kick off the show, will now open with a tribute to Bryant, according to E News.
Alicia Keys is going to kick off the #Grammys broadcast with a Kobe Bryant tribute, the E crew is saying ...— Laurie Brookins (@StyleWriterNYC) January 26, 2020
The premiere ceremony, which happens before the main televised ceremony, kicked off two hours ago, where the Recording Academy's interim chief Harvey Mason Jr. paid tribute to the athlete.
"As most of you may know, we lost Kobe Bryant in a tragic helicopter crash earlier today," he said. "Since we are in his house, I ask you to join me in a moment of silence."
the grammys honoring kobe bryant at the premiere show pic.twitter.com/W3WBR8NQyN— mike (@mikeyswrld) January 26, 2020
Hundreds of fans have gathered at the Staples Centre in downtown LA to pay their respects to the NBA star, who died alongside his daughter, Gianna Maria, 13, and three others who are yet to be identified.
There were a string of calls for officials to cancel the show after news of Bryant's death rocked the world when it broke a few hours ago, but it is currently going ahead.
Hours before the Grammys are set to begin at the Staples Center, fans gather to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant. pic.twitter.com/9LonIAIUUj— Us Weekly (@usweekly) January 26, 2020
The fact that everyone has to sit in Staples and go through an entire Grammys right now is...— Camilla Blackett (@camillard) January 26, 2020
Streets shut down around Staples Center for the Grammys. People trying to get close are being turned away. Grown men in tears on the street in downtown LA. #KobeBryant— Robert Faturechi (@RobertFaturechi) January 26, 2020
It is not the first time the Grammys have been rocked by the shock death of an icon.
Less than 24 hours before the 2012 Grammys, news broke that pop star Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room in Beverly Hills, aged 48.
The Grammys turned into a wake for Houston and opened with a prayer for the fallen star.
Singer Jennifer Hudson reduced the audience to tears with a chilling performance of a cover of Houston's famous song, I Will Always Love You.
More to come …