Stevie Wonder dedicates song to honor McCain during performance: 'God bless his soul'

Stevie Wonder on Saturday paid tribute to Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainAnother recession could hit US in 2019, says credit union association chief R-E-S-P-E-C-T: One legacy of Franklin and McCain is up to us To cure Congress, elect more former military members MORE (R-Ariz.) after learning of the 81-year-old GOP lawmaker’s death while onstage.

Wonder was performing in Atlantic City, N.J., when he learned of McCain’s death from brain cancer, according to People magazine. He then covered Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are,” dedicating it to the late senator.

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“This song goes out to Sen. John McCain,” Wonder said. “I wanted to see him before he left this planet, but I didn’t see him. I didn’t get the chance. But he grew to know compassion was not about any political party. It was about loving people for just the way they are.”

“God bless his soul,” Wonder added. “Let us send his family love. I send you all my love, all my prayers.”

The sold-out crowd gave a standing ovation in McCain’s honor, according to People.

McCain died Saturday in Arizona after a long battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer. In the hours since his death was announced, lawmakers and political leaders from both parties have come forward with tributes to McCain, who was widely respected across both parties.

Wonder also honored soul legend Aretha Franklin, who died earlier this month.

“I love you forever, Aretha,” he said, according to People.