Diplo Remembers Kobe Bryant on the Grammys Red Carpet: He's 'a Creative Genius, He's One of Us'

The DJ said Bryant, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash, "transcends iconic"

Diplo is still in shock that Kobe Bryant is gone.

The DJ, 41, honored the basketball star on the 2020 Grammys red carpet, just hours after Bryant tragically died along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash.

“I didn’t believe it at first, I still don’t believe it,” Diplo, born as Thomas Wesley Pentz, told E! Live on the Red Carpet host Ryan Seacrest. “It was devastating and sad.”

Diplo, who has two sons, Lockett and Laser with ex-girlfriend Kathryn Lockhart, said Bryant’s death touched him as a father.

“I can’t imagine losing one of my children, or a father, or a family member, he is so young, my age, 41, and so much more to do,” the artist said of Bryant, a father of four daughters.

Diplo said that he’ll have extra energy tonight as he performs “Old Town Road” in the Staples Center where Bryant played for two decades as a Los Angeles Laker.

“To be here at Staples right now, and to look up. We see his jersey up there just feel the energy … Kobe brought this energy to Los Angeles for 20 years,” he said.

Diplo and Kobe Bryant
Rich Fury/Getty

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Diplo said that Bryant will never be forgotten.

“Someone like that, he transcends iconic, so he’s gonna live forever,” Diplo said. “I mean, I think he’s gonna be around forever I think it is building up so much creative energy, and even after like him, that’s that’s a creative genius so he is one of us.”

Diplo, who won his third Grammy last year for his song “Electricity” with Mark Ronson and Dua Lipa, is not nominated this year, but he’s joining Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus to for a special performance of “Old Town Road.”

PeopleTV’s PEOPLE Now host Jeremy Parsons, PEOPLE Senior Editor Janine Rubenstein and Entertainment Weekly Senior News Editor Gerrad Hall are co-hosting a live red carpet pre-show ahead of the awards ceremony. Catch the full livestream above at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT or on PEOPLE’s Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also watch on the PeopleTV app, available on all of your favorite streaming devices.

Tune into the 62nd annual Grammy Awards at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS.

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