"Yesterday was supposed to be a celebratory day and then we got tragic news about Kobe Bryant and everything changed in a second," DeGeneres says of the tragedy on Sunday, which was also the host's 62nd birthday and the GRAMMY Awards, at which she was nominated.
"Life is short and it's fragile and we don't know how many birthdays we have. We don't have to have a birthday to celebrate, just celebrate life," she says. "And if you haven't told someone you love them, do it now. Tell people you love them. Call your friends, text your friends, hug them, kiss them. Be nice to the people at the DMV. They're people, be nice to them."
DeGeneres continues her speech by expressing her love for those in her life.
"I love each and every one of you. I know you wait for tickets and you get here and you pick out your TV outfits and you do your TV hair and I appreciate it very much. I know that I am lucky to have a wife [Portia de Rossi] who loves me so much, even though I don't have a GRAMMY," she quips, referencing her loss to Dave Chappelle. "I get to come to work every single day with people who make me laugh. I love everybody I work with."
In honor of Bryant, DeGeneres also shares a video featuring the times he appeared on her show.
"Kobe was a legend who will always be remembered for what he accomplished on the basketball court, but also remembered for his kindness and the times he helped us give back to deserving people on our show," she says while introducing the clip.
DeGeneres' tribute comes after late-night hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Conan O'Brien and James Corden honored the former NBA star with emotional speeches of their own.
Kimmel called Bryant "a hero" and O'Brien remembered him as "a joy to talk with," while Fallon admitted that he thought Bryant would "live forever" and Corden called the tragedy "so unspeakably sad."
Watch the video for more celebs who have paid tribute to Bryant.