Ellen DeGeneres Breaks Down In Tears As She Pays Emotional Tribute To Friend Kobe Bryant

Ellen DeGeneres has paid an emotional tribute to her friend Kobe Bryant on her American talk show.

Ellen broke down in tears as she remembered the basketball legend, who was killed along with his daughter Gianna and seven other passengers when the helicopter they were travelling in crashed on Sunday morning in Calabasas, California.

“Today is Monday, and yesterday was Sunday,” Ellen began. “It happened to be my birthday and the Grammy Awards. I was nominated, I didn’t win. Not the point.

“Yesterday was supposed to be a celebratory day, and then we got tragic news about Kobe Bryant, and everything changed in a second. And that’s what I want to talk about.”

Ellen DeGeneres (Photo: The Ellen DeGeneres Show)

Struggling to speak through her tears, Ellen then urged viewers of her show to “celebrate life”.

“Life is short, and it’s fragile, and we don’t know how many birthdays we have,” she said. 

“So just– you don’t have to have a birthday to celebrate, just celebrate life. And if you haven’t told someone you love them, do it now. Do it. Tell people you love them. Call your friends. Text your friends. Hug them. Kiss them.”

Kobe Bryant was a regular on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Photo: The Ellen DeGeneres Show)

The helicopter in which Kobe was travelling in went down amid uncharacteristically foggy conditions 17 miles from its destination, the Mamba Sports Academy, where he and his daughter were scheduled to attend basketball camp.

Kobe had been a regular guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, giving her his exclusive first interview after famously retiring from the NBA in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history.

He last appeared on the daytime show in April last year, when he discussed his wife Vanessa who was still expecting their baby Capri, who is now seven months old. 

READ MORE:

Ellen DeGeneres’ Response To Criticism About Hanging Out With George W. Bush At A Football Game Is Perfectly Ellen

Kobe Bryant: Sports Stars And Celebrities Pay Tribute To Basketball Superstar After Death

Kobe Bryant: BBC Apologises For Report On Star's Death Using Clip Of LeBron James

JANUARY

Monty Python star Terry Jones – best known as the star and director of some of the comedy troupe's most beloved films – died after a lengthy battle with a rare form of dementia.

JANUARY

Folk singer David Olney died on stage at the age of 71, during an appearance at the 30A Songwriters Festival.

JANUARY

Actor Derek Fowlds was known for his roles in Heartbeat and Yes Minister.

JANUARY

Derek Acorah (1950 - 2019)
The TV medium – known for shows like Most Haunted and Michael Jackson: The Live Seance – died at the age of 69, having contracted sepsis after being hospitalised for pneumonia.

JANUARY

Edd Byrnes (1932 - 2020)

The American actor was known for his role as "Kookie" in 77 Sunset Strip and Vince Fontaine in the hit musical Grease.

JANUARY

Christopher Beeny (1941 - 2020)

He will be best remembered for his roles in Upstairs, Downstairs and Last Of The Summer Wine.

JANUARY

Harry Hains (1992 - 2020)

The model and actor appeared in The OA and the fifth series of American Horror Story, Hotel.

JANUARY

Silvio Horta (1974 - 2020)

The TV producer created multiple hit shows, most notably the Golden Globe-winning Ugly Betty.

JANUARY

Elizabeth Wurtzel (1967 - 2020)

The journalist and author of Prozac Nation died at the age of 52, after a battle with breast cancer.

Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.