Billie Eilish was the stand-out winner at the biggest night in music, but this year’s Grammys were cloaked in sadness following the death of Kobe Bryant.
Stars learned of the basketball star’s death just hours before the ceremony at the Staples Center, which is home to the Los Angeles Lakers, the team he spent his entire 20-year career with.
Teenager Eilish, who soared to fame in 2019, was named best newcomer and also took home the awards for album of the year, record of the year and song of the year – the four biggest prizes of the night – but Bryant’s death had left stars in shock.
As thousands of fans gathered in mourning outside, a moment of silence was held inside the venue and host Alicia Keys paid tribute on stage.
“We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now,” she said. “Because earlier today Los Angeles, America, and the whole wide world lost a hero.
“We’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”
Keys was joined on stage by Boyz II Men for an emotional performance of their song, It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday.
A planned tribute to the late rapper Nipsey Hussle by John Legend, DJ Khaled and several other artists, also included Bryant, with both the late stars’ images projected on to the stage behind the performers.
And Lizzo, who went on to take home the prize for best pop solo performance, told the audience “tonight is for Kobe” before she performed two of her hit songs, Cuz I Love you and Truth Hurts.
Other winners included Lil Nas X, The Chemical Brothers and Vampire Weekend, but the night belonged to Eilish.
At 18, the singer is set to become the youngest artist ever to record the theme for a James Bond film, and now has a host of Grammys to add to her list of accolades.
Her chart-topping single Bad Guy earned her two of the prizes, while her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? won three.
Accepting the award for album of the year, she said she felt Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next, should have won.
“I think Ariana deserves this,” Eilish said, adding: “I love you, thank you for this.”
Her older brother Finneas, who co-wrote the album and handled its production, seemed surprised by the win.
“We wrote an album about depression and suicidal thoughts and climate change,” he said.
The siblings were back on stage just moments later to pick up record of the year prize for Bad Guy.
During her acceptance speech for the best newcomer award, Eilish paid tribute to music fans everywhere.
“They’re the only reason any of us are here at all,” she said.
Eilish’s clean sweep of the four big awards makes her the first artist to do so since Christopher Cross in 1981.
Other big moments included Aerosmith and Run DMC joining forces once again to perform Walk This Way, and Usher, Sheila E and FKA Twigs’ medley tribute to Prince.
Lil Nas X brought the story of his hit song Old Town Road to life on stage, performing alongside the artists who helped the song stay at the top of the US charts for a record-breaking 19 weeks through various remixes, including BTS, Mason Ramsey, Diplo and the track’s main co-star, Billy Ray Cyrus.
And Grande was also one of the night’s big performers, singing a medley which included Seven Rings and Thank U, Next, backed by an orchestra.
It comes after the singer cancelled her planned performance at last year’s event, accusing Grammys organiser Ken Ehrlich of refusing to allow her creative freedom.