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2016 Tony Awards Ceremony to Be Dedicated to Orlando Shooting Victims as Stars Express Heartbreak

A touching tribute. The 2016 Tony Awards will be dedicated to the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting on Sunday, June 12, according to the event’s organizers.

In a statement released Sunday afternoon, Tony Award Productions announced that the 70th annual ceremony, which is being held at New York’s Beacon Theatre, will honor the victims, given the deep ties between Broadway and the LGBT community.

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“Our hearts are heavy for the unimaginable tragedy that happened last night in Orlando,” the statement reads. “Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected. The Tony Awards dedicate tonight’s ceremony to them.”

In recent years, the Tony Awards have been hosted by several openly gay and bisexual performers, including Neil Patrick Harris, Alan Cumming and Sean Hayes. Stars have also regularly thanked their same-sex partners during their acceptance speeches, long before same-sex marriage was ever a national topic.

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The Tony, Broadway’s award for excellence.

Countless stars have expressed their heartbreak, and spoken out about the country’s gun laws, since the shootings occurred at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning. According to latest reports, 50 people were killed and at least 53 more were injured after the shooter, who police identified as 29-year-old shooter Omar Mateen, held hundreds of people hostage inside the club for hours. It is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history and has since been labeled by police as an “act of terrorism.”

“Horrified by the mass shooting in Orlando,” John Legend tweeted on Sunday. “When will we do something to prevent these killing sprees?”

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton wrote, “Woke up to hear the devastating news from FL. As we wait for more information, my thoughts are with those affected by this horrific act.”

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“I’m heartbroken by this tragedy,” Reese Witherspoon noted on Twitter. “Praying for Orlando and the suffering created by this senseless violence.”

A candlelight vigil will be held at SoundScape Park in Miami Beach on Sunday, June 12, at 7 p.m. ET. The 2016 Tony Awards will air live on CBS on Sunday, June 12 at 8 p.m. ET.

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