Grief-stricken fans converged on the Staples Center Sunday afternoon to mourn NBA legend Kobe Bryant. The Lakers great, his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others were killed when a helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, California just before 10 a.m.
At a news conference Sunday afternoon, Los Angeles County officials said there were nine people on board the aircraft when it crashed, sparking a small brush fire.
While the Staples Center was surrounded by barricades for the Grammy Awards, determined fans navigated the security barriers to pay their respects. Some carried flowers and others wore Kobe jerseys. Photos from the scene showed fans bowing their heads in respect as they gathered along the sidewalk and courtyard outside Staples.
Kobe’s picture loomed over the crowd on the Jumbotron screen.
The Grammys also remembered Bryant with a moment of silence at the beginning of its pre-show.
Interim Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. opened the early ceremony where dozens of Grammys are handed out before the main show, telling attendees, “As most of you may know, we lost Kobe Bryant in a tragic helicopter accident today.”
“Since we are in his house, I would ask you to join me in a moment of silence,” Mason said.