Billy Ray Cyrus Speaks Out on Kobe Bryant's Death: 'My Heart Is Still on the Ground' (Exclusive)

Just a week after the heartbreaking and unexpected death of Kobe Bryant, singer Billy Ray Cyrus says his "heart is still on the ground" after learning the devastating news. Sunday, Jan. 26 millions of fans around the world heard the news that Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others were involved in a deadly helicopter crash that claimed the lives of all nine people on board. Celebrities and fans alike took to social media to share their grief with one another, and in an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Cyrus is revealing his heavy heart over the news that shook everyone to their core.

"Oh man, my heart is still on the ground. I'm physically and mentally sick. This one is going to be a tough one to get over but I honestly feel like if Kobe were here, knowing what he said, this is the time here most of all that he would want us and his family to unite in his name and positivity," Cyrus expressed.

"My heart, it's not going to be the same ... I'll tell you what, right now we need to pick the victims and their families and be there for everybody. Again, I know that's what Kobe would want everybody to do right now ... life is like a ball game, sometimes you get knocked down [and] you got to get up and dust yourself off and collect. You got to regroup. That's what life is. A series of adjustments. You got to adjust and then play ball ... it's a heartbreak," he added.

Cyrus then said that Bryant's death is up there with the rest of some of the greatest including Michael Jackson, Prince, Whitney Houston and President John F. Kennedy.

"This has got to be what it felt like, to be honest, when President Kennedy [passed] and any losses of greatness. Marilyn Monroe, it's up there with Michael Jackson, Prince. Whitney Houston, I still miss Whitney Houston so much and think about her so much."

He then recalled a moment he and Houston shared in Las Vegas shortly after he won a Billboard Music Award, but was unaware at the time that he was taking home the honor. He revealed that Houston delivered the good news to him by "congratulating him in the most "sincere" of ways. "It meant so much to me at the time," he recalled.

The day of Bryant's death was also the night of the 2020 Grammys, where Cyrus and Lil Nas X took home two coveted awards — but the "Achy Breaky Heart" singer says he couldn't even be happy because of what had happened earlier that day.

"I'm pulling into the Staples [Center] when the news broke ... and the second they hand me my first two Grammys, I had no joy in my heart. I couldn't even pretend to be happy. My heart was on the ground," he said.

Just one week later after the Grammys, on Super Bowl Sunday, Cyrus, Lil Nas X and actor Sam Elliott shined in a Doritos commercial during the event. While the singer was still heartbroken over the Bryant news at the time of this interview, he did recall that shooting the Doritos commercial "was like the coolest, best day of my life."

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Cyrus' new EP The Singin' Hills Sessions Vol. 1 Sunset is out now. Click here to learn more.

Photo credit: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan/Getty.