Lady Gaga Pays Emotional Tribute to Cancer-Stricken Friend During Coachella Performance

From the heart. Lady Gaga paid tribute to her cancer-stricken friend, Sonja Durham, during her headlining performance at the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival in Indio, California, on Saturday, April 22.

The 31-year-old pop star was onstage performing some of her greatest hits, including “Born This Way” and “Bad Romance,” and at one point in the night, she brought the festive tone down a bit for a more serious message.

“My friend Sonja is very sick and I love her so much and if it’s OK with you, I’d like to sing this song for her,” Gaga told the crowd, getting emotional as she launched into a stripped rendition of “Edge of Glory.”

“I’m sorry you don’t feel well,” Gaga said at one point mid-song. “We all wish you were here with us.”

Durham, who previously served as Gaga’s assistant, is battling stage IV cancer, and tied the knot with her longtime love, Andre Dubois, last month, with the help of Gaga and several pals. 

On her blog, Durham thanked the “Million Reasons” singer for her friendship and generosity, calling Gaga her “guardian angel.”

“Honestly, if it wasn’t for Gaga and the financial contributions from everyone so far I really do not think I would be here,” she wrote. “Let’s just say I understand why people give up and die because they do not have the resources that I have been given.”

Gaga appeared at the popular music festival in place of former headliner Beyoncé, who announced in late February that she would no longer be performing at Coachella on the “advice of her doctors” as she is pregnant with twins.

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!

Close popup

Welcome to In Motion

Bring photos to life with Us Weekly's exciting new mobile experience!

What's In Motion? Tell me more

What's In Motion?

Go back

How to Use In Motion

What's In Motion? Tell me more