Ellen DeGeneres broke down in tears as she opened her talk show on Monday (27.01.20).

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres

The 62-year-old star began the taping of Tuesday's (28.01.20) episode of 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' by reflecting on the tragic death of Kobe Bryant - who died in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people on Sunday (26.01.20), which was also her birthday - and urged her fans to "celebrate life" because it is "short".

After thanking the audience for attending the taping, Ellen said: "Today is Monday. Yesterday was Sunday and it happened to be my birthday and the Grammy Awards. I was nominated. I didn't win. Not the point.

"Yesterday was a celebratory day and we got tragic news about Kobe Bryant and everything changed in a second.

"That's what I want to talk about: 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."

Ellen grew increasingly tearful as she urged viewers to reach out to their loved ones before it is too late.

She said: "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."

The 'Finding Dory' star ended her speech by expressing her appreciation for her wife Portia de Rossi and the people she works with.

She said: "I know that I'm lucky to have a wife who loves me so much, even though I don't have a Grammy. I get to come to work every single day with people who make me laugh. I love everybody I work with."

After news of Kobe's death broke on Sunday, Ellen took to Twitter to express her sadness and offer her condolences to the basketball legend's wife Vanessa and their surviving children, Natalia, 17, Bianka, three, and Capri, seven months.

She posted: "Like everyone, I'm stunned and saddened by the news about Kobe Bryant. My heart is broken for his wife and family."