The Late Show‘s trip to New Zealand this week has been canceled following the Christchurch terrorist attack.
Host Stephen Colbert opened Monday’s (March 18) show offering his condolences to the people of New Zealand and those who suffered after an armed gunman killed 50 people and injured countless more at two mosques in Christchurch. He revealed that the Late Show had planned to travel to New Zealand on Wednesday to shoot a surprise special in the country, after being personally invited to come by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern when she visited the show last year.
Colbert, a well-known Tolkein fan, said that Ardern had invited him to become an honorary citizen of Hobbiton, which is located in New Zealand’s north island.
“We never told anybody this, we were going to make [the visit] a surprise, we were actually supposed to go down Wednesday to shoot in New Zealand for a week. Because it was such a lovely invitation. I just love that country,” he said before reminising about his previous visit to film a cameo in one of The Hobbit movies.
A clearly emotional Colbert then sent a personal message to New Zealand and implored people to visit. “If you’ve never been, go. The people there are unbelievably kind and welcoming.”
“Obviously, we’re not going to go down now but we hope to go down in the future and again, we want to say to everyone down there how sad and heartbroken we are for what that country is going through,” he said.
He added: “For one of the hallmarks of New Zealand and one of the things I have always thought of, is it’s this wonderful, isolated country so far away from the problems we take for granted here north of the equator. And now this very particular brand of evil has infected that country like a ghost, something you wouldn’t imagine. Truly, an evil creature has arrived on that island.
“I pray with all my heart that they take the action down there and have the courage to take action that we seem to lack up here in the United States. Good luck to them and blessings and peace to the Muslim community there and everywhere in the world.”
Watch Colbert send his love to the people of New Zealand below.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.