2020 Grammys premiere ceremony opens with moment of silence for Kobe Bryant

The basketball legend died in a helicopter crash earlier today (January 26)

The 2020 Grammys premiere ceremony began today (January 26) with a moment’s silence for basketball legend Kobe Bryant.

The annual awards ceremony is traditionally held at LA’s Staples Center, which is also home to the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team who Bryant played for.

As the premiere ceremony, which precedes the later televised ceremony, began, the Recording Academy’s interim chief Harvey Mason Jr. paid tribute to the athlete. “As most of you may know, we lost Kobe Bryant in a tragic helicopter earlier today,” he said. “Since we are in his house, I ask you to join me in a moment of silence.”

Bryant was travelling in his private helicopter in this morning when it went down and a fire broke out, according to reports. Five people have been confirmed dead in the crash, with no survivors known at present. The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.

Stars of the entertainment world have begun paying tribute to the basketball star. Angel Haze tweeted: “Holy shit. Kobe is fucking gone. My brain cant even compute. The angels got a great one today. Wow.”

Bruno Mars added: “Kobe was a real life super hero on that court & I’m sure he was one to his family. Sending love and prayers to them. This is heartbreaking.”

Big Little Lies star Reese Witherspoon also joined those paying their respects online, writing: “Just devastated to hear about #KobeBryant .An extraordinary athlete, and a genuinely kind, wonderful man. Sending love, prayers & compassion to his family. To his entire @NBA family as well.”

As well as being acclaimed for his pursuits on the basketball court, Bryant won an Oscar in 2018. He picked up the award for Best Animated Short Film for his five-minute piece Dear Basketball.