He spoke of America’s “unbreakable spirit” before he and his band performed Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down, in honour of both the victims and the rock star who died last week.
Instead of the usual joke-filled opening, the weekly comedy sketch show began with an emotional introduction by the singer.
Before playing, he said: “This week we witnessed one of the worst tragedies in American history. Like everyone, I’m struggling to understand what happened that night and how to pick up the pieces and start to heal.
“So many people are hurting. There are children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends, they’re all part of our family. So I want to say to them, we hurt for you and we hurt with you.
“But you can be sure that we are going to walk through these tough times together every step of the way. Because when America is at its best our bond and our spirit in unbreakable.”
Aldean’s appearance on the programme was a surprise, given that Sam Smith had been booked as the musical act. Aldean earlier cancelled tour dates for this weekend “as a result of what happened”.
As a result of what happened in Las Vegas this week, we have decided to cancel this coming weekend’s shows… pic.twitter.com/lP7TFCukII
— Jason Aldean (@Jason_Aldean) October 3, 2017
He was performing at the Route 91 Harvest festival, an outdoor concert, last Sunday night when Stephen Paddock opened fire, spraying bullets into the crowd from a nearby hotel, killing 58 people and injuring nearly 500.
It is the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
Paddock, who had a stash of high-powered weapons in his room at the Mandalay Bay hotel, apparently killed himself as police closed in. A motive for his shooting spree has not been established.
Tom Petty died on Monday in Los Angeles aged 66 after suffering a cardiac arrest.