vanessa bryant at kobe bryant memorial service

Stars attend emotional public memorial service for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna

Vanessa Bryant paid a heartfelt tribute to her late husband and daughter at their memorial service on Monday

Hanna Fillingham

On Monday, mourners gathered at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles to say goodbye to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, 13, who tragically died in a helicopter crash in January, along with seven others. Those in attendance at the public memorial included Beyoncé, who opened the service performing one of Kobe's favourite songs, XO, which was followed by Halo. Other guests in attendance included Jennifer Lopez and her fiancé Alex Rodriguez, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, and Kris Jenner and Khloe, who were all good friends with Kobe and his family. The event's date – 24 February – was chosen by Kobe's wife, Vanessa Bryant, and his mother, who wanted to honour both Kobe's basketball number, 24, and Gianna's, who wore number two on her basketball teams.

 

VIDEO: Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna laid to rest in a private funeral

MORE: Kobe Bryant's wife Vanessa pays a heartbreaking tribute to her husband and daughter Gianna

beyonce-kobe-bryant-memorial

Beyoncé performed at Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna's emotional memorial service

During the service, which was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, Vanessa stood up on stage to thank the audience for coming. In a heartbreaking tribute, she spoke about her daughter, describing her as "one of my best friends," and a "daddy's girl." She proudly spoke about Gianna's "infectious smile," and her basketball talents, and became emotional as she spoke about how she would never witness Gianna's wedding day, or see her change the face of basketball. Vanessa then went on to describe her late husband as her "soulmate" and the "best girl dad". She said: "I want my daughters to know and remember the amazing person, husband and father he was. The kind of man that wanted to teach the future generations to be better and keep them from making his own mistakes."

MORE: Simon Cowell's son Eric gets his first job aged six

jennifer lopez at kobe bryant memorial service

A-Rod and Jennifer Lopez attended the poignant service

Vanessa added: "I couldn't see him as a celebrity, nor just an incredible basketball player. He was my sweet husband and the beautiful father of our children. He was my – he was my everything." Other people who spoke at the service included Sabrina Ionescu, a point guard for the University of Oregon who had mentored both Kobe and Gianna, WNBA great Diana Taurasi, Kobe's former teammate Shaquille O'Neal, and NBA star Michael Jordan.

kobe-bryant-and-daughter-gigi

Kobe and Gianna tragically died in a helicopter crash in January

A private funeral was held for Kobe and Gianna on 7 February. The pair tragically died on their way to basketball practice, and were two of the nine passengers on board. Along with tributes from celebrities and fellow sports stars following their passing, Kobe's tragic death was remembered at the Grammy Awards, which were held at the Staples Centre, the Los Angeles Lakers' stadium.