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Elton John teary-eyed when Biden surprises him with a medal at a concert

LONDON – British singer Elton John was left teary-eyed and “dumbstruck” after President Biden awarded him a surprise national humanities medal, following a White House concert on Friday night.

John, 75, whose birth name is Reginald Kenneth Dwight, has become a world-renowned singer, pianist and songwriter. He has also championed various charities and humanitarian causes, especially those fighting HIV/AIDS.

Flanked by the president and first lady, John, wearing his trademark red glasses, looked visibly shocked when he first saw the medal, covering his face with his hands in disbelief.

“I am never shocked, but I am shocked, humbled and honored by this incredible award from the United States of America,” he said. said, outmatched, moments after grabbing Jill Biden’s hand and hugging her husband. “I’m going to treasure this a lot.”

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The Grammy Award-winning singer praised “America’s kindness to me as a musician,” calling it “unsurpassed,” and vowed his new medal would prompt him to redouble his efforts to help eradicate the disease that affects more than 38 million people. people all over the world. according to to the World Health Organization.

Biden, a big fan, described John as a “tidal wave,” quoting Irish poet Seamus Heaney, praising his “incredible career.”

Against the backdrop of the White House, John opened with “Your Song,” followed by classics “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocketman,” “Crocodile Rock,” and closed with the upbeat “I’m Still Standing.”

The South Lawn concert, titled “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme,” was part of his farewell tour, as the singer prepares to hang up the microphone after a glittering 50-year career. It was also an event to honor “everyday history makers in the audience,” according to the White House, including teachers, military families and LGBT+ advocates.

John dedicated “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” to Ryan White and his mother Jeanne White-Ginder, who attended the concert. His son lost his life to AIDS-related complications after a blood transfusion and died in 1990, just a month before graduating from high school.

The legendary singer launched the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992, which has raised over $450 million so far and funded programs on four continents. Between songs, John spoke to the audience about his hope to help eradicate the virus by 2030.

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Among the approximately 2,000 guests at the musical event were former First Lady Laura Bush, tennis champion Billie Jean King, British Ambassador to the United States Karen Elizabeth Pierce, and John’s husband, David Furnish. Members of the Biden administration, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, also attended the concert.

John previously appeared at the White House in 1998 alongside Stevie Wonder at a state dinner for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Other artists who have performed at the coveted venue include Patti LaBelle, opera star Andrea Bocelli, and the Jonas Brothers.

He has sold more than 300 million records worldwide, according to to its official website, and performed over 4,000 performances in more than 80 countries.

He became Sir Elton John after being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998 and has been a close ally of Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, defending them in the press after criticism they received for withdrawing from their top leadership. royal duties. John reworked “Candle In The Wind” following the death of Harry’s mother in 1997, which broke records, selling more than 33 million copies while people mourned around the world.

Earlier this week, John told fans while on stage in Canada that he was “very sad” to learn of the queen’s death, praising the late monarch’s decency and noting that for decades she “worked very hard “.

His Biden medal will sit next to his Legion of Honor presented to him by French President Macron in 2019.


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