Beyoncé has raised the roof with a touching rendition of two of her hit songs at the emotionally-charged memorial service for late basketball legend Kobe Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
The iconic artist commenced proceedings at Monday’s “Celebration of Life” for Kobe and Gianna - or ‘Gigi’ - held at Los Angeles’s Staples Centre by performing XO and Halo with a rousing group of backup musicians.
She appeared to send a heartfelt message to Kobe via the lyrics in Halo which include, “Standing in the light of your halo/ I got my angel now”.
‘I love Kobe’
Dressed in a gold suit, the multi-Grammy award winner took a moment to look to the heavens and honour her friend who was among 10 people killed last month in a helicopter crash in Calabasas.
“I’m here because I love Kobe and this was one of his favourite songs,” the 38-year-old told the crowd of thousands of mourners which included the NBA superstar’s widow, Vanessa Bryant.
At one point, Beyoncé blew kisses to Vanessa, 37, who was seated front-and-centre and was later seen comforting the mum-of-four as she wept.
Fellow singers Alicia Keys - who performed Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” on a grand piano - and Christina Aguilera also took to the stage.
Kobe - who played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 17 seasons of his two-decade career - was remembered by fellow sporting greats including Michael Jordan who openly cried during his speech.
The Bryant’s celebrity friends Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez were spotted in the audience.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the stadium when a clearly devastated Vanessa eulogised her husband of 21 years, calling him her ‘everything’.
“He was the most amazing husband,” she said.
“Kobe loved me more than I could ever express or put into words. I was fire. He was ice. Vice versa at times. ... He was my everything.”
The couple’s daughter Gigi was remembered as a promising young basketball player who ‘represented the future’ of the women’s league.
A private funeral was held for Kobe and Gianna in Orange County on February 7.
Vanessa Bryant sues over Kobe’s death
The service began just hours after Vanessa filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Island Express, the owner of the helicopter that crashed in the fog last month.
She is also claiming that pilot Ara Zobayan - who also lost his life in the crash - was careless and negligent by flying in cloudy conditions.
According to documents obtained by TMZ, Vanessa doesn’t list the amount of money she is seeking in damages, but she is asking for punitive damages, as well as damages for “pre-impact terror”, which is the emotional trauma suffered by Kobe and Gigi before the crash.
Vanessa is also seeking damages for loss of love, affection, care, society, service, comfort, support, right to support, companionship, solace or moral support, and expectations of future support and counselling, as well as money for loss of financial support and for burial and funeral expenses.
With AAP and BANG! Showbiz.
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