"Life is short and it's fragile. And we don't know how many birthdays we have," Ellen said.
On Tuesday's episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," which was filmed on Monday, Ellen got choked up while remembering the NBA legend, who, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and 7 others, were killed in a helicopter crash Sunday morning.
"I have mentioned before that we tape in advance and we taped yesterday's show last week --, Ellen began, starting to tear up. "Today is Monday and yesterday was Sunday. It happened to be my birthday and the Grammy Awards ... Yesterday was supposed to be a celebratory day and then we got tragic news about Kobe Bryant and everything changed in a second. That's what I wanna talk about."
"Life is short and it's fragile. And we don't know how many birthdays we have," she continued through tears. "We don't have to have a birthday to celebrate, just celebrate life. If you haven't told someone you love 'em, do it now. Tell people you love 'em. Call your friends. Text your friends. Hug 'em. Kiss 'em."
Ellen then introduced her DJ, "SYTYD" alum Twitch, who came out and cheered up the audience by dancing in the aisles. After the music stopped, Twitch grew emotional as well as he told Ellen and the audience how the daytime talk show is the "perfect place to be" when many are sad and grieving and need a "boost of love."
Ellen grabbed a tissue and said, "Literally I was backstage before the show started; that's why it took me a minute to get out here, 'cause I was saying to Twitch, because we've both been sad today, and I said we're gonna go out there and we're gonna fill the room with love 'cause that's what everyone needs."
"And then I come out here and fall apart," she added with a laugh as she wiped a tear off her face. "I'm so sorry."
At the end of the show, Ellen paid tribute to Kobe by showing highlights from the all-star's appearances over the years, including a visit from back in 2018 when Kobe surprised a women's college basketball champion and gifted her (and her dog, Kobe) some signed Lakers gear.
Ellen said before showing the clip, "Kobe was a legend who will always be remembered not only for what he accomplished on the basketball court but also remembered for his kindness and the times that he helped us give back to deserving people on our show."
"Our hearts go out to Kobe's family and all the families who lost loved ones on Sunday," she concluded. "Be kind to one another."
Kobe is survived by his wife Vanessa and the couple's three other children; Natalia, Bianca and Capri.
Click here to see how Hollywood, the sports world and beyond are paying tribute.
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