Elton John honors Queen Elizabeth II at Toronto concert

Courtesy Rocket Entertainment

Following the announcement of Queen Elizabeth II‘s death on Thursday at the age of 96, Elton John paid tribute to late monarch at his Toronto concert.

“We have the saddest news about the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth,” he said. “She was an inspiring person to be around — I’ve been around her and she was fantastic. She led the country though some of our greatest and darkest moments with grace, decency and a genuine care and warmth.”

“I’m 75 — she’s been with me all my life and I feel very sad that she won’t be with me anymore,” the legendary rocker shared. “But I’m glad she’s at peace, and I’m glad she’s at rest, and she deserves it because she’s worked bloody hard,” Elton continued as the audience cheered.

“I send my love to her family and her loved ones. She will be missed, but her spirit lives on and we celebrate her life tonight with music, okay?” he concluded, before launching into his 1974 hit, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” a song that gets its title from the Queen Victoria-era saying, “The sun never sets on the British Empire.”

Elton’s tribute was similar to a post on his Twitter earlier in in which he called the late Queen “an inspiring presence to be around.”

Elton paid tribute to his close friend Princess Diana after her death in 1997 with the song “Candle in the Wind ’97,” a reworking of his 1973 hit honoring Marilyn Monroe.

Elton was knighted by the Queen on April 24, 1998 for his musical and commercial contributions to the United Kingdom, as well as his extensive charity work, particularly with AIDS research and financial support.

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