Nipsey Hussle was honored in a major way at the 62nd annual awards ceremony with a star-studded tribute performance. First, Meek Mill and Roddy Ricch took to the stage, and the pair performed an emotional new song, "Letter to Nipsey," in which they sang about the impact Hussle had on their lives and their music.
The debut of the new powerful song was followed by DJ Khaled, John Legend, YG and gospel singer Kirk Franklin for an emotional performance of the late rapper's hit songs, including "Higher."
During the performance, video of the "Victory Lap" rapper appeared on the screen as Legend played the piano, a choir danced along and his girlfriend, Lauren London, stood up in support.
The tribute also honored Kobe Bryant with a picture of the late Lakers star and the late rapper on the big screen. "Rest in peace, Nipsey Hussle. Rest in peace, Kobe Bryant," DJ Khaled said onstage. "Long live, Nip. Long Live, Kobe. The marathon continues."
Following Sunday's show, Mill and Ricch released "Letter to Nipsey" as a single, and pledged to donate all proceeds from the sales and streams of the track to Hussle's family.
Just hours before the ceremony, the news of Bryant's death shocked fans and the entertainment industry alike. Legend took to Twitter to honor the late NBA legend, admitting he was "so sad and stunned" by the news.
"I'm so sad and stunned right now. In Staples Arena, where Kobe created so many memories for all of us, preparing to pay tribute to another brilliant man we lost too soon, Nipsey Hussle," he wrote. "Life can be so brutal and senseless sometimes. Hold on to your loved ones. We miss you, Kobe."
I'm so sad and stunned right now. In Staples Arena, where Kobe created so many memories for all of us, preparing to pay tribute to another brilliant man we lost too soon, Nipsey Hussle. Life can be so brutal and senseless sometimes. Hold on to your loved ones. We miss you, Kobe
Hussle, a four-time GRAMMY nominee, tragically died last March after he was shot outside his Marathon Closing store in Los Angeles. The father of two, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom, was 33 years old.
Hussle is nominated for three awards at this year's ceremony. He posthumously won his first-ever GRAMMY for Best Rap Performance, and then a second award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Higher" with DJ Khaled and Legend.
ET spoke with Hussle on the red carpet at the 2019 GRAMMY Awards, and he opened up about how being nominated for Best Rap Album for his last studio album Victory Lap was a motivational and humbling experience.
"I'm inspired, obviously, I want to get back in and make some new music," the late rapper said at the time, adding that the nomination made him feel "humbled."
"I know how much we put into the album, so to get to be recognized, it means a lot for me, my team also, everyone who worked on it, and [we're] just excited to be here," he added.