Mariachis say farewell to Kobe Bryant with ‘Amor Eterno’ tearjerker

A crowd of fans stands outside of Staples Center in front of a screen with the words "In loving memory of Kobe Bryant 1978-2020" and Bryant's photo.
Fans gather outside Staples Center to mourn the death of Kobe Bryant.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

As the world continues to mourn the death of Kobe Bryant and eight others, the tributes to the late basketball great keep getting more heart-wrenching.

Amid a massive crowd outside Staples Center this week, mariachis gathered to honor Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and the other seven lives lost with a poignant rendition of “Amor Eterno,” a goodbye ballad by the late Mexican singer Juan Gabriel.

Kobe Bryant loved Los Angeles’ Latino community, and in turn, they loved him back.

“You are the sadness in my eyes, that weep in silence for your love, I look at myself in the mirror and see my face, the time I’ve suffered because of your goodbye,” the lyrics translate to English.

“How I wish that you had lived, that your little eyes had never closed, and to be looking at them,” belted the band’s vocalist, a purple glow shining in the background. “Love eternal and unforgettable, sooner or later I will be with you to continue loving each other.”


The L.A.-based Mexican group Banda Imperio also stopped by Staples Center this week to perform its own rendition of the ballad along with other popular Spanish-language songs, including Antonio Aguilar’s “Un Puño de Tierra.”

“The day that I die I won’t take anything with me/ Live life to the fullest, life quickly ends/ What happened in this world, only the memory remains/ Once I’m dead I’ll only take with me a handful of dirt,” the group sang in Spanish.

Bryant and the others died Sunday when a helicopter they were traveling in crashed into a hillside in Calabasas. The response from Angelenos and the world was immediate.

Thousands gathered outside Staples Center, the Lakers’ home where Bryant played most of his 20-year career, to grieve. On social media and beyond, celebrities, politicians, athletes and musicians paid their respects to Bryant.

And on Wednesday, Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, took to social media to express her anguish and thank the public for its support.

“There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved,” she wrote on Instagram.

“We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon.”