America’s best-known TV hosts have broken down over the tragic helicopter crash that saw NBA great Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna, and seven others lose their lives.
Presenters Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen Degeneres and Jimmy Fallon paid their respects on their first shows of the week with monologues, production changes and plenty of tears.
Ellen Degeneres breaks down
Ellen broke down in tears as she opened her show on Monday.
The 62-year-old, who celebrated her birthday on Sunday, the same day of the crash, began the show by reflecting on the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, urging fans to ‘celebrate life’ before it’s over.
“Yesterday was a celebratory day and we got tragic news about Kobe Bryant and everything changed in a second,” she said.
“That's what I want to talk about: Life is short and it's fragile. And we don't know how many birthdays we have. We don't have to have a birthday to celebrate. Just celebrate life."
Jimmy Fallon remembers
The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon also dedicated a huge chunk of the show to Bryant, opening the show with the story about the first time he met Kobe when the basketball star was a rookie on the LA Lakers and Fallon was starting out in comedy.
They met at a party and went on a beer run together that was only successful because Kobe was on the Lakers, a story Fallon broke down relaying.
“When we’d run into each other over the years we’d laugh about that night that we first met,” Fallon said.
“We’d laugh at all the good things that happened since. We’d laugh about how fun it was to raise kids and all the stupid mistakes we made trying to figure out how to be good dads.
“And Kobe had four daughters and I had two daughters. And today, he and one of his girls are gone.”
Jimmy Kimmel cancels show for tribute
Meanwhile, Jimmy Kimmel changed the entire format of Jimmy Kimmel Live, forgoing a studio audience, guests or band.
“We don’t have a studio audience here tonight because going forward with a comedy show didn’t feel right considering what happened yesterday,” Kimmel said in the empty studio.
The comedian honoured Kobe by using the entire hour to air some of Kobe’s appearances on the show.
He spoke about who Kobe was as a person and as a father. He spoke about how Kobe was there for him when his son had heart surgery.
Like Fallon, Kimmel was overcome by the incredible sadness of the situation.
“There’s no silver lining here,” Kimmel said. “It’s all bad. It’s all sad. He was a bright light and that’s how I wanna remember him.”
With additional reporting by Bang Showbiz and Stephen Proctor
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