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Alicia Keys pays emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant at Grammy Awards hours after fatal crash

 Host Alicia Keys spoke of the terrible tragedy and paid tribute to all of the victims [Image: Rob Latour/REX]

The 62nd annual Grammy Awards opened with an emotional tribute to basketball star Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash just hours before the ceremony.

"This is for Kobe" declared US pop sensation Lizzo as she kick started the show with her single, Cuz I Love you.

Following the performance, host Alicia Keys walked sombrely on to stage to say a few words following the tragedy.

Addressing the celeb-packed crowd at the Staples Center and viewers at home, she said: "We're all feeling crazy sadness right now.

"Earlier today L.A., America and the whole wide world lost a hero.

"We're standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built," she said of the late star, who spent the entirety of his 20-year career with the Lakers.

 "This is for Kobe" declared Lizzo as she opened the show [Image: Getty Images for The Recording A]

Alicia went on to say the basketball star, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and other victims of the tragedy were "in our hearts, spirits, prayers in this building.

"I want to ask everybody to take a minute and hold them inside of you and share your support with the families," she said.

"We never in a million years imagined we'd have to start the show like this," added Alicia.

The host was then joined by Boyz II Men as they sung It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.

"We love you Kobe," she said. "I know we're gonna do what we're here to do and do what we do in happier times.

 Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men sing in honour of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant [Image: AFP via Getty Images]

"We're gonna love together and we're gonna make sure we celebrate the most powerful energy in the world and the one thing that can bring us all together and that's music."

Earlier on Sunday the devastating news that Kobe was killed in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna broke.

The sports star had used a private helicopter as a mode of transport for many years and is reported to have been accompanying his daughter to basketball practice when the incident happened.

The father and daughter are survived by his wife and mum Vanessa and daughters, Natalia, 17, Bianca, two, and Capri, 17 weeks.

Ahead of the 62nd Grammy, producers were said to have been 'working quickly' to add a tribute to Bryant.

 Kobe and his daughter Gianna were believed to be on their way to basketball practice when the helicopter went down [Image: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo]

Artists on the red carpet paid tribute to the sportsman including producer Rick Ross who told Billboard: "The couple times I got to run across Kobe, it was real short and brief, but I let him Know I was a huge fan of his career, and he let me know the same, man."

It's not the first time the Grammys has had to work quickly in the response to breaking news.

In 2012 Whitney Houston died a day before the ceremony.

Host LL Cool led the audience in prayer on the night while Jennifer Hudson performed I Will Always Love You.

Another Los Angeles legend, Nipsey Hussle, is also being honoured at tonight's Grammy Awards.

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