Jason Aldean Honors Las Vegas Victims In Surprise Appearance On 'SNL'

Carla Herreria

Instead of performing one of its typical cold open sketches, “Saturday Night Live” started tonight’s episode with an emotional appearance by country music star Jason Aldean.

Aldean honored the victims of last Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, which occurred in front of him as he performed at a country music festival.

“We witnessed one of the worst tragedies in American history,” Aldean said. “Like everyone, I’m struggling to understand what happened that night and how to pick up the pieces and start to heal.”

gunman sprayed bullets down onto the crowd at music festival, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds of others in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

“So many people are hurting. There are children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends. … They’re all part of our family,” Aldean said on Saturday night.

“So I want to say to them: We hurt for you, and we hurt with you. But you can be sure that were going to walk through these tough times together, every step of the way. Because when America is at its best, our bond and our spirit ― it’s unbreakable.”

After his brief speech, Aldean and his ban paid tribute to Tom Petty, who died in California last week, by covering his song, “I Won’t Back Down.” One of Aldean’s band members wore a shirt with a message that echoed Aldean’s remarks: “Spread love, it’s the Nashville way.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.