The 2020 Grammy Awards was supposed to be a night where artists were recognized for their music, but instead, celebrities couldn’t stop thinking about the untimely death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. “The aura of the night was very eerie because of the passing of Kobe Bryant. It seemed as if people wanted to enjoy the night but couldn’t because they felt strange partying on a day that they should be mourning,” an eyewitness at the Universal Music Group Grammy Afterparty presented by Lenovo tells In Touch exclusively.

As A-listers made their way into the party on Sunday, January 26, they “were wearing hats and jerseys to pay respect” to the legendary basketball player.

Alicia Keys Honors Kobe Bryant at the 2020 Grammys
Matt Sayles/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Of course, Alicia Keys opened the show by paying tribute to Kobe and Gianna, who were both killed in a tragic helicopter crash earlier that day. “We never imagined in a million years we’d have to start the show like this,” she began. “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.” The songstress then sang “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” with Boyz II Men.

However, the 39-year-old host tried to lighten the mood by playing a piano medley where she playfully called out some of the musical artists who were sitting in the audience including Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish and Cardi B.

It’s no surprise that Kobe’s name was mentioned several times throughout the night including during Nipsey Hussle’s tribute. Additionally, his No. 24 jersey was shown on stage as Lil Nas X sang “Old Town Road” and Aerosmith performed “Walk This Way.”

Prior to the show, many Hollywood stars spoke out about the horrible incident. “It’s unthinkable. This is a man and a family that we have gotten to know over the years,” Ryan Seacrest said on the red carpet. “He was on the phone with me a few months ago — [we talked about] his love of being a father and his daughters. So many artists here tonight will be thinking of him and wanting to share their stories. He was a music lover.”

Aerosmith Holding Up Kobe Bryant's Jersey at the 2020 Grammys
Matt Sayles/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

“We all feel it and feel it in our own way,” rapper Common added while speaking with E! News host. “Hopefully, today we can celebrate through music and different things. Nothing can take away what life is. God bless his soul, his daughter and everyone who was on that helicopter. We love him.”

Even though Kobe and Gianna are no longer with us, their presence was very much felt at the awards ceremony. RIP.

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