Elton John and David Furnish 'deeply saddened' as they pay tribute to 'great friend' following sad death

Lily Safra died on Saturday

Elton John and David Furnish have paid tribute to their "great friend" Lily Safra following her death over the weekend.

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The billionaire socialite and philanthropist, who inherited a fortune from her banker husband Edmond Safra, died on 9 July in Geneva, Switzerland.

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She was 87 years old and had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, according to her spokesperson.

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Taking to Instagram on Sunday, David shared a photo of him and Elton next to Lily, and wrote: "Elton and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our great friend Lily Safra. Lily was an extraordinary lady, Mother, Grandmother and friend.

Elton and David with Lily Safra

"Her generosity was boundless. Her philanthropic legacy, along with her dear and devoted late husband Edmond, is magnificent. We are eternally grateful for her munificent contributions to helping us build an AIDS free world. She gave so graciously to @ejaf."

He ended his moving statement by adding: "Lily was also a lady of the most elegant and refined style. She had an exceptional and tasteful eye for beauty in all its forms.

"We will miss you greatly, dear Lily. You taught us all how to live with joy and lead with our hearts. Our love and prayers go out to all your family."

The couple said they were 'very saddened' by Lily's death

Friends and fans rushed to comment on the beautiful tribute. Susannah Constantine wrote: "Gutting news," whilst another remarked: "So sorry to lose such a beautiful person. EJAF will carry on because of her and many!!"

Lily's fourth husband, Brazilian banker Edmond Safra, died in 1999 in a fire in their apartment in Monaco.

The 87-year-old chaired the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, which describes itself as donating to organisations supporting education, science and medicine, religion and humanitarian relief in 40 countries.

Forbes estimated his? fortune at $1.3billion.

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