David Beckham sent a heartfelt message to those attending the One Love Manchester concert, arranged by Ariana Grande, at Old Trafford cricket ground on Sunday, urging them to celebrate the spirit of the English city.
Two weeks ago a terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena, where Grande was performing, claimed the lives of 22 people, including children.
Grande subsequently decided to hold the concert this weekend to honour those lost, and the gig went ahead despite another atrocity in London 24 hours prior.
A clutch of pop stars from across the globe — including Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Liam Gallagher — performed in front of 50,000 fans, and Beckham was invited to be a part of the event.
"Sorry I can't be there this evening," Beckham began in a message broadcast at the stadium.
"Manchester is a place that was my home for many years. The people are some of the most special I have ever met in my life. It's somewhere that means so much to me.
"As a father, what happened made me truly sad and it's a day we will never forget. I'm proud of everyone there today, everyone in the crowd and all the artists.
"Tonight is about remembering those that suffered so much on that night, but also celebrating the spirit of this great city. It's a place we all love. Have a good evening."
Rio Ferdinand, who had earlier played at Old Trafford in Michael Carrick's testimonial match, was watching on and tweeted in the hope of an Oasis reunion.
The former defender asked, "where's Noel at?"
Though Liam's sibling did not appear on stage, he was joined by Coldplay as he sang for the city he was brought up in.