Elton John pays an emotional tribute to George Michael on his opening Las Vegas night

Elton John paid an emotional tribute to George Michael on the opening night of his Las Vegas New Year residency.

The superstar sang Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, a song he duetted on with George on a live version in 1991.

Before he played the song - which Sir Elton originally recorded in 1974 - the singer expressed his sadness at the news of the former Wham! star's death.

He said: "On Christmas Day, George Michael passed away. It was one of the saddest moments of my career because I'd known George more or less from the start of Wham! and got to know him very well; played with him, recorded with him, played at the last Wham! concert at Wembley Stadium.

Elton John with George Michael at Wham!'s final concert at Wembley Stadium in 1986. Credit: PA

"It was the most awful news because he was on the road back, supposedly, to good health."

Sir Elton said his friend was "one of the kindest, sweetest, most generous people I've ever met".

"He gave so much money to so many great causes without telling anybody."