The awards show began with Alicia Keys taking the stage and immediately addressing the day's tragedy.
"Here we are together, on music's biggest night, celebrating the artists that do it best," Keys said to the crowd. "But to be honest with you, we're all feeling crazy sadness right now. Because earlier today—Los Angeles, America, and the whole wide world lost a hero. And we're literally standing here, heartbroken, in the house that Kobe Bryant built.
"Right now, Kobe and his daughter Gianna and all of those that have been tragically lost today are in our spirit, in our hearts, in our prayers, in this building — and I'd like to ask everybody to take a moment and just hold them inside of you, and share our strength and our support with their families. We never imagined in a million years we'd have to start the show like this. So we wanted to do something that could describe a tiny bit how we feel right now."
Then, as Keys sang the opening words to "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday," she was joined on stage by the members of Boyz II Men, who helped perform a brief a cappella rendition of the song.
It was a touching way to begin the night, but it wasn't the only way Bryant's legacy was remembered during the show. A number of other artists and performers paid tribute to Bryant, and a spotlight illuminated both of his retired jerseys in the rafters above Staples Center throughout the show.
Bryant's jersey was also seen on the Grammy stage at the Staples Center. His No. 24 jersey was held up bu Run-DMC during their performance with Aerosmith:
Also, Lil Nas X, who won a Grammy for Best Music Video for 'Old Town Road', performed the hit song next to a gold Bryant jersey:
Earlier in the day,. He was just 41 years old.