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Beyoncé Turns Kobe's Fave ‘XO’ Into Gospel To Kick Off Memorial Service + NBA Stars & Legends, Celebs, Athletes Shed Tears & Pay Their Respects

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Kobe & Gianna Bryant’s memorial service kicked off with a powerful performance from Beyoncé. Watch how she took us all to church, plus everyone who was in attendance inside…

We knew Kobe & Gianna Bryant’s memorial service would start the water works. And soon as Beyoncé’s voice came through the speakers, instant tears.

Today, the world celebrated the lives of NBA icon Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant and the seven other souls lost in a helicopter crash on January 26th inside the home that Kobe built, the Staples Center. Over 20,000 family, friends and fans packed the arena to pay tribute to the late NBA player, his daughter and others.

Decked out in a gold suit and purple nails, Beyoncé kicked off the memorial with a gospel rendition of her track “XO,” delivering a pitch perfect performance with a choir behind her.

“I’m here because I love Kobe and this was one of his favorite songs,” Beyoncé said before she started singing the track from her 2013 self-titled album.

After belting out “XO,” Bey then performed “Halo,” a cut from her 2008 album I Am…Sasha Fierce.

Watch her performance below:

Bey’s husband Jay-Z was spotted in the audience. The Carters are longtime friends of the Bryants.  By the way, Kobe made a cameo in Destiny's Child's “Bug a Boo” video in 1999.

 

After hitting the stage...

The Grammy Award winner took her seat behind Kobe's wife Vanessa Bryant who gave the first emotional tribute.

After paying tribute to her husband and daughter, Bey was seen comforting Vanessa in the audience:

 

We can't even begin to fathom.

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Singer Alica Keys hit the stage to perform Beethoven’s “Piano Sonata No. 14,” which is known as the “Moonlight Sonata.” According to Kobe’s best friend/Lakers general manager, Rob Pelinka, Kobe told him he was going to learn how to play the song by ear as a gift to Vanessa. And Kobe - with his Mamba Mentality - did just that!

Dressed in a purple suit, Alicia played the song on the piano backed by a group of string instruments. Peep her performance below:

There were tons of celebs in the audience to pay their respects to Kobe and his daughter, including, NBA legends Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and Rick Fox.

Kanye West, his wife Kim Kardashian West, his sister-in-law Khloe Kardashian, and his mother-in-law Kris Jenner were spotted in the audience:

 

 

 

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Former Los Angeles Lakers players were there to honor Kobe, including Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Pau Gasol, and Jerry West.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver joined Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Phil Jackson and several current NBA players, including Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and DeMar DeRozan.

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Former teammates Derek Fisher (above with Kobe's dad Joe Bryant) and Lamar Odom, and longtime coach Phil Jackson were also in attendance. Retired NBA baller Dwyane Wade & his wife Gabrielle Union, Ciara & her husband Russell Wilson, Snoop Dogg and his wife Shante Broadus, Kyrie Irving, Jennifer Lopez & her fiance Alex Rodriguez were also spotted in the audience. 

 

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Kobe's parents, Joe & Pam Bryant, were also there to celebrate their son and granddaughter, but didn't speak on stage.

 

 

R.I.P. Kobe, Gianna and to the seven other victims.

Photos: TIDAL/AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

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