Hundreds of mourners gathered at a candlelight vigil Monday night to honor The Voice singer Christina Grimmie and her brother made time for a moving tribute to those lost in the Orlando mass shooting incident over the weekend.
Christina was shot dead after a concert while signing autographs for fans outside The Plaza Live in Orlando last Friday night.
Her brother, Marcus Grimmie, struggled to hold back the tears as people gathered in her honor at the half-hour vigil, which took place at the Marlton Memorial Sports Complex in their New Jersey home town of Evesham.
— Dave Schratwieser (@DSchratwieser) June 14, 2016
As reported by Billboard, in his speech, Grimmie referred to the moment she was shot, but without using those words, saying, “She was arms wide open. She had no idea (what was happening.)”
Photo: (Cherry Hill, N.J.) Courier-Post pic.twitter.com/nBBeQzdj1v
— Carolyn Cerbin (@carolyncerbin) June 14, 2016
He continued by saying, “Christina was awesome… She loved this town, she loved this state, she loved singing, she loved the Lord and she loved me and she was just my baby sister.”
As he spoke, Marcus took some time to remember the victims of the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, which occurred just two days after Christina’s death and a short distance away from The Plaza Live.
Speaking of the victims who died and were injured in the incident, he said, “About four miles away from where we were staying, there was a huge tragedy to Orlando, to the U.S. to the LGBT community and to the whole world.”
“I mean, 50 people dead, who knows who is injured. And I come home to this… I have no words. All of those people that died and are suffering. My heart goes out.”
Marcus said he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from the people of Orlando and the entertainment community for Christina, but added that the victims of the mass shooting at Pulse do not have similar support systems.
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“These people didn’t have that and we are blessed to,” he said. “She’s in a better place. Thank you to everyone once again. I wish I could elaborate more, you guys didn’t know her like I did, so thank you. This is awesome.”
— EntertainmentTonight (@etnow) June 14, 2016
Marcus also expressed gratitude to Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine, who coached Christina while competing on the third season of The Voice, and for the fact that Levine offered to pay for his sister’s funeral. He also thanked the band Twenty One Pilots and singer Selena Gomez for paying tribute to Christina in concert.
While it was a candlelit vigil, reportedly there were so many people in attendance, they eventually ran out of candles. Many wore specially designed “Team Grimmie” shirts to the event.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) June 14, 2016
Reportedly several people spoke at the vigil, including Mayor Robert Brown and several close friends and pastors, recalling Christina’s love of family, friends, and faith. Best friends of Christina, including Pete Innaurato, Sarah Luebkemann, and Lauren Longo also shared fond memories of Christina.
Once speeches were over, the gathered mourners bowed their heads as a bagpiper performed “Amazing Grace,” following which lights were switched off on the field and candles illuminated the scene in tribute to Christina Grimmie.
[Photo by Brian Killian/Getty Images]