Vanessa Bryant delivered a brief speech while introducing TIME magazine’s in memoriam segment Thursday night when the outlet announced its Person of the Year in a primetime special on NBC.
Bryant, whose husband, Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant, and daughter Gianna, 13, died in a California helicopter crash in January that left seven other people dead, spoke in a pre-recorded message.
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“Words cannot do justice to the grief we felt this year. At every level of human connection from across the world to across the table, we experienced profound loss,” Bryant said.
“We said goodbye to husbands, daughters, wives, sons, grandparents, friends and national heroes. And we continue to count the lives surrendered to this cruel pandemic, which has claimed well over a million souls, worldwide. Tonight, we mourn the people we all knew and the many we never will. May our collective grief unite us on the path forward.”
Bryant’s comments led into the memoriam, which featured renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and classical pianist Kathryn Stott performing “Over the Rainbow” as images of people who died in 2020 appeared on the screen. Kobe Bryant was the first person honored.
“Everything is a game seven. When you approach every practice, every game with that kind of mentality, it bleeds into the rest of the guys,” Bryant was hearing saying in a voiceover, while pictures of him in his Lakers uniform and with Gianna appeared on screen.
Kathryn Johnson, Sean Connery, Jerry Stiller, Chuck Yeager, Regis Philbin, Chadwick Boseman, Alex Trebek, Eddie Van Halen, John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Nick Cordero were among the other notable people who died in 2020 who were also singled out.
TIME revealed later in the night that President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were named Person of the Year.