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Kobe and Gianna Bryant farewelled at emotional memorial service

Former basketball player Michael Jordan reacts after speaking during a public memorial for NBA great Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others killed in a helicopter crash on January 26, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 24, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Kobe and Gianna Bryant farewelled at emotional memorial service

Thousands have bid farewell to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna during a memorial service at LA’s Staples Center.

Kobe and Gianna Bryant farewelled at emotional memorial service

The service was filled with many heartbreaking moments as the basketball star and his 13-year-old daughter were remembered following their deaths in a helicopter crash on January 26.

The memorial opened with a performance by Beyonce, who sang her hit XO, which she revealed was one of Kobe’s favourite songs.

She also performed a stirring rendition of her song Halo.

Jimmy Kimmel delivered an emotional speech which saw him break down in tears, and acted as MC for the evening.

Kobe’s wife Vanessa gave a moving eulogy in which she recalled how her late husband had purchased and gifted her the famous blue dress worn by Rachel McAdams in 2004 film The Notebook.

She also revealed Kobe had given her the notebook used as a prop in the film.

Vanessa said she and Kobe “had an amazing love story” and “had hoped to grow old together” as McAdams’ character Allie and Ryan Gosling’s character Noah had in the film.

She said that Gianna “was daddy’s girl but I know she loved her mamma”.

“Kobe always said she was me – she had my fire, my personality and sarcasm, but she was tender and loving on the inside,” she said.

The memorial also featured performances from other A-list stars Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys.

There was a host of celebrities in the audience, from NBA icons such as Michael Jordan, to celebrity couples including Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

Jordan delivered a speech in which he became emotional as he spoke about his “little brother”.

“This kid had passion like you would never know,” he said.

“He wanted to be the best basketball player that he could be. And as I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be.”

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