SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Elton John teared up while paying tribute to his friend George Michael during a concert in Las Vegas this week.

With a picture of Michael lighting up the backdrop of the stage, he performed “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” The 53-year-old Michael died on Christmas Day. John called his death one of the “saddest moments” of his career. He said he knew Michael from the start of WHAM! and the two collaborated on music.

John also tweeted a photo of the two, writing: “I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend — the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist.” He said Michael donated to causes without fanfare.

Police say an initial autopsy has been “inconclusive” and more tests must be done to establish a cause of death.

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