By Jeff Labrecque
Updated March 24, 2011 at 04:05 PM EDT
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Credit: David Nutter/AP Images

Hours after his close friend Elizabeth Taylor passed away in Los Angeles, Elton John took the stage at Pittsburgh’s CONSOL Energy Center to perform. “Today I lost a friend and you lost a hero named Elizabeth Taylor,” John told the crowd, according to CNN. “She stood up when no one was prepared to stand up and be counted against AIDS. She supported everybody in that with 1,000 percent of her body and her fiber. But most of all she loved people. She fought for the underdog. She was an incredible woman and I was privileged to have known her.”

As John began to play the opening notes of his song “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” he added, “God bless you, Elizabeth. God knows how we’re going to replace you. This is for you and your beautiful memory and for all the people you helped and saved.”

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