Kobe Bryant & daughter Gianna remembered in emotional memorial service


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Family, celebrities, athletes, and fans gathered at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on Monday, February 24, to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant. Vanessa Bryant took to the stage and delivered a powerful and moving speech about losing her husband and daughter on January 26 in a helicopter crash. 

More from MamásLatinas: All about Kobe Bryant's beautiful family

The tribute was attended by some of basketball's biggest stars and friends of Kobe, including Dwyane Wade, Stephen Curry, and Shaquille O'Neal. Close friends like Michael Jordan and Rob Pelinka delivered powerful speeches, sharing anecdotes and their love for Kobe with the crowd. Beyoncé and Alicia Keys took the stage to use their talents to honor Kobe and Gigi with gorgeous and emotional performances. Vanessa showed such incredible strength sitting on the front row with her daughters, as thousands of people who loved her husband surrounded her in the arena.

The tribute began with a performance by Beyoncé.

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Beyoncé began the tribute with a performance of her song "XO," which she said is one of Kobe's favorite songs. She also sang the emotional "Halo," which is another song that Vanessa requested Beyoncé sing. The lyrics of both songs seemed so fitting and appropriate for such an emotional moment.

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Jimmy Kimmel was called to host the tribute.

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The comedian, who is usually upbeat, held back tears all through the memorial service. The late night talk show host gave a tearful opening speech about Kobe's impact not just in the city of Los Angeles, but all over the country and the world. 

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Vanessa Bryant took to the stage to pay tribute to her two loves.

Vanessa wrote letters about losing both her daughter Gianna and husband. She showed incredible strength as she recalled sweet memories she shared of them both and described how they were as a family. She recalled her daughter's sweet kisses and Kobe's incredible skills as a dad.  She vowed to take care of their three girls, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri, in exchange for Kobe taking care of Gigi in heaven. "I'll never get to see my baby girl walk down the aisle," she said at one point through tears. "Or see her have babies of her own."

She showed incredible strength throughout her speech.

Vanessa held back tears during her speech but she was smiling and laughing as she shared some heartfelt thoughts about losing her daughter and husband. She said she knew Gigi and Kobe couldn't live without each other, and that's why she believes God called them home at the same time. 

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Vanessa bravely shared her feelings about losing her daughter.

Vanessa bravely shared her feelings about losing her daughter.

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Although most people knew Gigi was a daddy's girl, Vanessa shared how they also shared a tight and sweet bond as mom and daughter. "She was so full of life, and has so much more to offer this world. We love you so much. Gigi," she said. "I will miss your sweet handmade cards, your sweet kisses and your gorgeous smile. I miss you, all of you, every day." 

Michael Jordan couldn't stop the tears from flowing.

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were often compared and fans debated which one of them was the greatest basketball player of all time. That rivalry turned into a lifelong friendship, and MJ said Kobe became like his little brother. His tears flowed as he told stories of them as athletes and friends.

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Alicia Keys played a song on the piano that had a deep meaning for Vanessa.

During his speech, Kobe's best friend, Rob Pelinka, recalled a time where the basketball star learned to play Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" on the piano. Alicia Keys then came out and performed the piece for Vanessa and she was overcome with emotion.

Christina Aguilera delivered a stunning performance.

The singer filled the arena with her powerful vocals while performing "Ave Maria" in Italian. Kobe spent part of his childhood living in Italy and was fluent in the language, so that was a beautiful ode to the late basketball star.

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Celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez attended the memorial.

Jennifer Lopez couldn't hold back tears as she listened to Kobe and Gigi's loved ones speak about them during the memorial. Alex Rodriguez was by her side, and other stars like Gabrielle Union, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, and others were also in attendance to pay homage to the basketball star and his child.

Fans were able to attend the ceremony.

Tickets were sold in advance and proceeds will go to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. Fans received a T-shirt with photos of Kobe and Gigi printed on them, as well as a program to keep as a memento of the event. 

Topics: celebrity death  celebrity daughters  celebrity dads