Sir Elton John has received a standing ovation at a concert in Sydney after pledging $1 million for Australia's bushfire relief efforts.
Speaking to the crowd at the Sydney Superdome on Tuesday night, the singer-songwriter said Australia should be "in awe" of its firefighters, who are battling an unprecedented bushfire season.
"There are people out there who have lost their lives trying to save homes. There are people who have lost their lives and their homes," he said.
"And lastly there's the plight of the animals. A loss of their habitat that frankly is on a biblical scale, and heart-breaking. Therefore, tonight I will be pledging $1 million to support the bushfire relief fund."
Elton John just donated one million dollars to the bushfire relief pic.twitter.com/Ld2i0t9n98— Britt (@BrittA2211) January 7, 2020
Sir Elton, who has been performing in Australia since 1971, urged Australians to "come together" during this difficult time.
"To see what is happening here breaks my heart, and so we have to come together and we have to fight," he said.
"This is my bit towards it, and I love Australia so much. To those who have lost their homes, God bless, I hope that your life will be repaired very, very soon. I want to say thank you Australia again, and God bless."
Donations stream in from public figures
Sir Elton's donation comes after Australian actor Chris Hemsworth also pledged $1 million for the bushfire recovery on Tuesday, following in the footsteps of singer Pink, Nicole Kidman and her husband Keith Urban, and Kylie Minogue's family, who all announced $500,000 donations to the cause.
Hi everyone. Like you, I want to support the fight against the bushfires here in Australia. My family and I are contributing a million dollars. Hopefully you guys can chip in too. Every penny counts so whatever you can muster up is greatly appreciated.https://t.co/KcBpMe7QvY pic.twitter.com/gYuA4LELZM— Chris Hemsworth (@chrishemsworth) January 7, 2020
Actress Margot Robbie also shared a personal plea for bushfire aid, while actor Russell Crowe highlighted the need for climate action at this year's Golden Globe Awards.
A Facebook fundraiser established by Australian comedian Celeste Barber has also raised more than $43 million for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service and the Brigades Donations Fund.
Twenty-five people are confirmed to have died in Australia's bushfire season since October, including 20 in New South Wales, three in South Australia and two in Victoria.
Sir Elton John is currently touring Australia as part of his three-year Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.