Christina Aguilera was one of several artists who honored Kobe Bryant at the memorial ceremony held for the late athlete and his daughter Gianna at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday, performing a rendition of "Ave Maria." Aguilera, wearing a black jacket with lace-accented sleeves and a long black skirt, performed the traditional song in Italian.
The pop star's performance came toward the end of the ceremony and featured a string quartet, a harpist and a pianist backing her.
"Thank you, Christina, that was beautiful. And in Italian, as well," Jimmy Kimmel, who acted as the ceremony's emcee, told Aguilera after her performance. As Aguilera stepped off the stage, she blew a kiss to Bryant's family.
Beyoncé and Alicia Keys also performed during the event, the former opening the ceremony with her songs "XO," which she said was one of Bryant's favorite songs, and "Halo." Keys performed a stirring rendition of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" that caused the Staples Center to fall silent.
The public memorial also featured a number of speakers remembering Bryant and his daughter, including Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, college basketball star and Kobe's mentee Sabrina Ionescu, University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma and Bryant's widow, Vanessa Bryant, who delivered a moving eulogy for her husband and daughter.
"Gigi would've most likely become the best player in the WNBA," Vanessa said. "She would've made a huge difference for women's basketball. Gigi was motivated to change the way everyone viewed women in sports."
"Her smile was like sunshine," she continued. "Her smile took up her entire face. Like me. Kobe always said she was like me. She had my fire, my personality and sarcasm. She was tender and loving on the inside. She had the best laugh. She had the best laugh. It was infectious. It was pure and genuine."
Speaking about her husband, Vanessa said that he was "the MVP of girl dads."
"We loved each other with our whole beings, two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls," she said. " I want my daughters to know the amazing person, husband and father he was. The kind of man who wanted to teach the future generations to be better."
"God knew they couldn't be on this Earth without each other," she concluded. "He had to bring them home to heaven together. Babe, you take care of our Gigi."
Photo Credit: Getty / Kevork Djansezian