Thousands attend Orlando vigil for massacre victims

The crowd outside Orlando's Dr Phillips Centre for the Performing Arts, remembering the Pulse nightclub massacre victims (AAP)
The crowd outside Orlando's Dr Phillips Centre for the Performing Arts, remembering the Pulse nightclub massacre victims (AAP)

Less than 48 hours after a man stormed gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida and carried out the worst mass shooting in US history, thousands turned out in the city for an emotional vigil.

The largest gathering in the city took place at the Dr Phillips Centre for the Performing Arts, where the Orlando Gay Chorus sang to the masses.

Thousands attend Orlando vigil for massacre victims

(AAP)

Thousands attend Orlando vigil for massacre victims

(Reuters)

The mourners stood behind colourful flower bouquets, arranged with candles on the lawn, holding framed photographs, handwritten tributes, American flags, stuffed animals and balloons.

Mayor Buddy Dyer addressed the crowd, saying: "Tonight, we remain a city in pain. We are mourning. We are angry.

"Someone purposely sought out men and women of our LGBT community. He took the lives of 49 of our neighbours and loved ones and injured dozens more.

"He murdered sons and daughters, fathers and mothers. And ended the dreams of many young people who were just starting their adult lives in the city of Orlando."

Thousands attend Orlando vigil for massacre victims

(AAP)

Thousands attend Orlando vigil for massacre victims

(Reuters)

Symbolically, each of the victims' names were read out jointly by a lesbian woman and a Muslim, leaving many of the crowd in tears.

Pulse nightclub staff, adorned in their club shirts, took the stage to huge applause and cheers.

"We are feeling the love and the love is here tonight," said staff member Neema Bahrami.

"We are not leaving. We are here to stay."

Mr Bahrami posted a photo to Facebook following his speech:

The bells from Orlando's First United Methodist Church tolled 49 times -- once for each life lost.

Reverend Kathy Schmitz, of the First Unitarian Church of Orlando, prayed as the crowd lit candles in preparation for the tolling of the bells.

"You can extinguish a life, but you cannot extinguish love," she told those gathered.

After the last bell, she told everyone: "Be in peace my friends. There's a long journey ahead and we'll be in it together."

President Barack Obama will travel to Florida on Thursday (local time) to personally pay respects to the victims of the weekend nightclub shooting, the White House has said.

Newshub.

Thousands attend Orlando vigil for massacre victims

(Reuters)