Celebrities, athletes, family members and thousands of fans poured into the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday to honor basketball great Kobe Bryant, who died last month in a helicopter crash that also killed his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.
People began lining up outside hours before the memorial was to begin. The public memorial — dubbed "A Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" — was being held in the arena where Bryant wowed fans for nearly two decades while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 2/24 date for the memorial carries special significance as it coincides with Bryant's jersey number — "24" — and Gianna's "2" jersey number.
The 41-year-old Bryant and his daughter were among those who died when their helicopter crashed January 26 in the fog in the hills around Los Angeles.
The memorial service Monday included singer Beyonce, who opened the ceremony with a song; television talk show host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel; fellow Laker legend Magic Johnson and many others.
Bryant's widow, Vanessa Bryant, spoke during the ceremony honoring both her husband and daughter.
"God knew they couldn't be on this Earth without each other, he had to bring them home to have them together," she said.
Just hours earlier, she filed a lawsuit against the owner of the company that operated the helicopter involved in the crash that killed her husband and daughter.
The wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles maintains the pilot was careless and negligent by flying in cloudy conditions that day and should have aborted the flight.