We'll never forget these 9 all-time great performances by grieving stars.

They say expressing yourself openly can be one of the best ways to deal with grief.

But what happens when that expression has to be done in front of the entire world?

That's the decision faced by big stars — actors, athletes, and musicians — when tragedy hits their family. Many performers try to get away from the public eye in moments like this. To spend time grieving with their loved ones. And that's absolutely fine.


Others seem to find strength in their craft. Or even just in sharing their pain with the world.

Those moments have led us to some of the most unforgettable performances we've ever seen. Here are nine of the best:

1. Edinson Volquez helped the Kansas City Royals win the 2015 World Series just days after his father passed away.

Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images.

His dad died of heart complications while he was pitching in Game 1 of the series, though Volquez didn't find out until after the game. After attending the funeral in the Dominican Republic, though, he was back in time to pitch six solid innings in the deciding Game 5. The performance wasn't perfect, but it was enough to propel his team to a championship –– his team's first since 1985.

"He was there with me tonight," Volquez said after the game.

2. Just a week after his mother's death, Kanye West broke down during a performance of "Hey Mama."

Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Roc Nation.

Kanye released "Hey Mama" in 2005 as a tribute to his mother. In the song, he writes, "I appreciate what you allowed for me / I just want you to be proud of me."

Only two years later, she died of unexpected complications following surgery. Kanye appeared at a show in Paris just a week after her death and broke down during the opening bars of the song before gathering himself and closing out the show.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander shined less than 48 hours after losing his brother.

Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

On the same day Volquez became a champion with the Royals, Alexander helped the Buccaneers knock off the Atlanta Falcons in an overtime thriller with some exceptional play — despite the fact his 17-year-old brother had been tragically shot to death just two days earlier.

"He was my little brother," Alexander said. "But I know he'd want me to be strong for him."

4. Weird Al Yankovic performed hours after learning both of his parents passed away.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Image

In 2004, Weird Al Yankovic's parents tragically died in their home when their fireplace filled the house with smoke. Yankovic was scheduled to go on stage in Mankato, Minnesota, shortly after he got the news.

And, amazingly, he did.

5. Brett Favre famously led his Packers to a victory over the Oakland Raiders the day after his father's death.

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Favre, in what would become one of the defining moments of his career, torched the Raiders defense to the tune of 399 yards and four touchdowns –– a nearly flawless effort –– even while playing with a heavy heart.

The moment seemed all the more powerful under the bright lights of "Monday Night Football."

6. Lea Michele began shooting an episode of "Glee" to memorialize Cory Montieth just weeks after his passing.

Christopher Polk/Getty Images for VH1

Michele and Montieth were dating when he died of a drug overdose in 2013. Soon after, "Glee" (the TV show they both starred in) began filming an episode to memorialize Montieth and his character on the show.

If you haven't seen the episode, it's a doozy. You can tell the actors, especially Michele, are just barely getting through it. The result is a spectacular and touching tribute.

7. Figure skater Joannie Rochette won a bronze Olympic medal just days after her mother suffered a fatal heart attack.

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty

While competing at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Rochette got the awful news during practice that her mother had passed away after traveling to Vancouver to see her perform. Somehow, she summoned the strength to compete and scored a personal best on her way to a hard-earned bronze medal.

8. Torrey Smith's younger brother died in a motorcycle accident. The next night, he wowed on "Sunday Night Football."

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

He racked up 127 yards and two touchdowns on the night, not to mention a Ravens win, despite fighting tears on the sideline throughout the game.

It was an incredible moment.

9. Celine Dion was performing in Vegas on the day her father died. That night, she delivered an unbelievable performance.

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for The UCLA Department of Head and Neck Surge.

After giving a short tribute to her late father, Dion sang "Wonderful World" through tears and absolutely stunned the audience.

You can still watch the moving performance today.

Everyone deals with loss differently.

You can read about the five stages of grief all you want, but there's no right or wrong way to navigate your emotions.

It's just really wonderful when tragedy can result in something beautiful.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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