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Gary Oldman delivers emotional Bowie tribute at Brit Awards

Gary Oldman paid an emotional tribute to David Bowie at the Brit Awards in London on Wednesday night.

The movie actor was a close personal friend of Bowie, and attended the ceremony – the UK’s equivalent of the Grammys – to accept an “icon” award on behalf of the late artist and his family.

Oldman described Bowie, who died in January, as “the very definition, the living embodiment of that single word: icon,” and said the world had lost “an artist of transcendent talent.”

His voice cracking, Oldman told the audience, “In recent years, David sparingly spoke about music and his process. But in one of these rare instances, he graciously and eloquently expounded: ‘Music has given me over 40 years of extraordinary experiences. I can’t say that life’s pains or more tragic episodes have been diminished because of it, but it has allowed me so many moments of companionship when I have been lonely, and a sublime means of communication when I have wanted to touch people. It has been both my doorway of perception and the house that I live in.'”

Related: Goodbye, David Bowie, you beautiful, chameleonic rock god

Oldman added, “I can share with you that he faced his illness with tremendous courage, dignity, grace, and customary humor, even in dire circumstances,” and finally, “David, you were mortal, but your potential was superhuman and your remarkable music is living on. We love you and we thank you.”

Singer Annie Lennox also offered warm words, telling the audience, “There was no one and nothing else like him. He was truly unique….gracious, dangerous, and legendary. The legacy of his extraordinary sound and vision will be loved and revered for as long as the earth still spins.”

Bowie’s longtime backing band then hit the stage to perform a medley of his work before Lorde, a musician whose work Bowie once personally complimented, delivered a powerful rendition of Life on Mars?

Space surprise for Adele

Hardly surprisingly, Adele was the big winner at Wednesday night’s show. The 27-year-old songstress picked up four of the event’s top awards, one of them announced by an astronaut currently aboard the International Space Station.

The London-born singer won best British female solo artist, best British single for Hello, and best British album for 25. She also collected a special Global Success award, with British astronaut Tim Peake (below) – looking very much the part in his space-safe tux – popping up on a giant screen to announce the prize.

Adele’s excitement at having an astronaut present the award led to her dropping the F-bomb during the live broadcast, though that was hardly going to spoil the party.

peake brit awards

Accepting the award, an emotional Adele thanked her fans, telling them: “I got really lost for a while and I didn’t know if I’d ever come back [to the music industry].”

Related: Adele’s Hello keeps breaking records, becomes fastest on Vevo to break 1 billion views

She added, “I want to thank my manager, Jonathan Dickens, and I want to thank my boyfriend for supporting me. Not bad for a girl from Tottenham who don’t like flying, winning Global Success!”

Other winners on the night included Justin Bieber for best international male, Bjork for best international female, James Bay for best British male, and Tame Impala for best international group. Coldplay picked up best British group.