This past week’s episode of Saturday Night Live veered away from its typical cold open sketches, and instead featured an emotional speech and performance by country music star Jason Aldean.

Aldean paid tribute to the victims of last Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, which occurred during Aldean’s performance at a country music festival.

“We witnessed one of the worst tragedies in American history,” Aldean, 40, said. “Like everyone, I’m struggling to understand what happened that night and how to pick up the pieces and start to heal.”

A gunman released a flurry of bullets down onto the unsuspecting crowd at the music festival, killing 58 people and wounding over five hundred others in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The gunman, now identified as Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, fired into the crowd of concert goers from his 32nd floor hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

“So many people are hurting. There are children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends. They’re all part of our family,” Aldean said 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 and emotional speech, the country music star and his band paid tribute to rock legend Tom Petty, who died in California last week, by covering his song, “I Won’t Back Down.”  Petty passed away at the age of 66, from cardiac arrest at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital, after being found unconscious at his home in Malibu. The rock legend had recently finished a long North American tour which commemorated the 40th anniversary of his band.

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