Ariana Grande broke down in tears during a performance in Pittsburgh, the hometown of her late ex-boyfriend Mac Miller, last night.
As part of her Sweetener world tour, the pop singer paid tribute to the rapper by playing his music before she took to the stage at the PPG Paints Arena. Later, she choked up while performing Thank U, Next - a song that references Miller directly - as her fans yelled words of encouragement.
“You can do it, Ari,” they shouted as she struggled to get through the line, “Wish I could say thank you to Malcolm, ’cause he was an angel.”
Grande, 25, appeared to get emotional during a rendition of Raindrops (An Angel Cried), a track that many of her fans believe is about Miller, too.
Ariana was crying during thank u next yesterday in Pittsburgh, the hometown of Mac Miller...Ariana really had a Mac Miller playlist for the music before the show and she had an empty seat reserved for him...she’s so strong 😭💔#ArianaGrande pic.twitter.com/5PB2jZzdXd— Xxxdangrouswoman Xxx (@arianagrande5wt) June 13, 2019
The God is a Woman hitmaker dated Miller, 26, from August 2016 to May 2018. In September that same year, he died from a drug overdose.
“In this moment, the city of Pittsburgh’s love for Malcolm shined through so so so much,” one fan tweeted after the concert. “Everyone in this arena screamed it. The most special thing I have ever been a part of.
“We miss u. We love u. Thank you for this, Ariana Grande. This city loves you.”
Another wrote: “I can’t imagine that performing in Pittsburgh was easy tonight for [Ariana Grande] but she honestly crushed it and did a beautiful job paying tribute to [Mac Miller].
“This is a strong ass woman. Keep coming back to see us Ari, PGH will always be here for you.”
While she didn’t explicitly mention him by name during the performance, Grande previously paid tribute to Miller on Instagram. Following his death, she wrote: “I adored you from the day I met you when I was nineteen and always will.
“I can’t believe you aren’t here anymore. I really can’t wrap my head around it.
“We talked about this. So many times. I’m so mad, I’m so sad I don’t know what to do. You were my dearest friend. For so long. Above anything else. I’m so sorry I couldn’t fix or take your pain away. I really wanted to.”
She concluded: “The kindest, sweetest soul with demons he never deserved. I hope you’re okay now. Rest.”
Following her split from Miller, Grande went on to date Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson, whom she became engaged to in June 2018. The pair called off their engagement and ended their relationship four months later.