Elton John paid tribute to his late friend George Michael with a touching speech and performance of 'Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me' Wednesday night.
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Elton John paid tribute to his late friend George Michael with a touching performance and speech Wednesday night.

Opening his Vegas show with a performance of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” — which the entertainers sang together in 1990 — John powered through the song as a large image of Michael was projected onto the screen behind his band.

At one point, John was seen wiping away tears as he told the audience he wished “George was here to sing it with me.”

“On Christmas Day, George Michael passed away, which was one of the saddest moments of my career because I’ve known George Michael more or less since the start of Wham! and got to know him very well, played with him, recorded with him,” the singer said onstage. “It was the most awful news because he was on the road back supposedly to good health.”

Urging those in his audience to listen to Michael’s music, the star also spoke about his friend’s legacy.

“Apart from his music, which is outstanding … more than anything as a human being he was one of the kindest, sweetest, most generous people I’ve ever met,” said John. “He gave so much money to so many great causes without telling anybody.”

After Michael’s sudden and shocking death at age 53 was announced on Christmas Day, John remembered the star on Instagram.

“I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend — the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist,” he wrote. “My heart goes out to his family, friends and all of his fans.”