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U2 Guitarist Becomes First Contemporary Artist Ever to Perform at Sistine Chapel

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The musician told his audience Saturday that he was “stunned” when asked to play in the chapel.

The Edge, lead guitarist for the Irish rock band U2, made history Saturday night when he became the first rock star ever to play in the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Reuters reported.

The guitarist, whose real name is David Evans, performed four songs Saturday night for attendees of Cellular Horizons, a conference on regenerative medicine held at the Vatican.

The Edge of U2 performs on stage during a concert, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

Two hundred doctors watched as the Edge, accompanied by a choir of seven Irish teenagers,played acoustic guitar and sang a cover of Leonard Cohen's "If it be your will,” as well as the U2 songs "Yahweh,” "Ordinary love" and “Walk on.”

The artist, whose own father died from cancer last month and whose daughter survived leukemia, is deeply invested in the quest to cure cancer. The Edge is on the board of foundations dedicated to cancer research.

According to Reuters, the musician told his audience Saturday that he was “stunned” when asked to play in the chapel that Renaissance genius Michelangelo painted in the 16th century.

AFP Photo / Filippo Monteforte / Musei Vaticani

"When they asked me if I wanted to become the first contemporary artist to play in the Sistine Chapel, I didn't know what to say because usually there's this other guy who sings," he said, referring to U2’s lead singer Bono.

"Being Irish you learn very early that if you want to be asked to come back it's very important to thank the local parish priest for the loan of the hall," he added before thanking Pope Francis and other Vatican officials "for allowing us to use the most beautiful parish hall in the world".

The Edge dedicated his performance of "Walk on,” to Pope Francis, whom he described as "the people's pope.”

"He's doing an amazing job and long may he continue," he said.

The rock star included numerous technical medical terms such as “bio markers” and “angiogenesis” in his speech.

"I can tell this is a really cool audience because normally when I say angiogenesis eyes glaze over," he said. Angiogenesis refers to the process through which new blood vessels develop, enabling tumors to grow. Scientists around the world are exploring ways to block tumor angiogenesis.

The conference, which was addressed by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Friday, was organized by the American-based Stem for Life Foundation to allow doctors to exchange ideas and discuss the use of adult stem cells to cure rare diseases.

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