Elton John performs during his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour at the Wizink Center on June 26, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Ricardo Rubio/Europa Press via Getty Images)
He’s currently on his farewell tour, but Elton John has revealed he was close to not living to see it.
The singer, 72, was diagnosed in 2017 with prostate cancer and opted for surgery rather than chemotherapy. He did not want the disease “hanging over” his family.
The surgery was smooth sailing but was eclipsed by a nasty heath scare, the icon wrote in his new memoir, Me: Elton John’s Official Autobiography.
“The doctors told David I was 24 hours away from death,” the British songwriter revealed.
“I was taken to King Edward VII’s Hospital in London,” he explained, “where I had a scan. I was told that my condition was so serious, the hospital didn’t have the equipment to cope with it.”
Elton John: ‘Please don’t let me die, please let me see my kids again’.
It was just 10 days after his surgery in Los Angeles, US, when it transpired he had contracted a dangerous infection.
Returning from the South Africa leg of his global tour, John admitted: “If the South American tour had gone on for another day that would have been it: brown bread.”
Lying in the London hospital, John spent 11 days being treated for a “a rare complication from the operation.”
The nights, however, were restless for John, who laid in his hospital bed “wondering if I was going to die.”
However dark this period of his life was, it was one that shined a light on John, who decided then and there to bring an end to his touring and focus more on his husband, David Furnish, and sons Zachary and Elijah.
“In the hospital, alone at the dead of night, I’d prayed: please don’t let me die, please let me see my kids again, please give me a little longer,” he wrote.
“In a strange way, it felt like the time I spent recuperating was the answer to my prayers – if you want more time, you need to learn to live like this, you have to slow down.
‘It was like being shown a different life, a life I realised I loved more than being on the road.
“Music was the most wonderful thing, but it still didn’t sound as good as Zachary chattering about what had happened at Cubs or football practice.
“Any lingering doubts about retiring from touring just evaporated.”
Two years on, John has embarked on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour and seen his life dramatised in the film, Rocketman.
Taron Egerton played the young Reg Dwight to critical acclaim.
As his farewell tour comes to a close, John’s memoirs will drop on October 15, giving a more private tour of the singer’s stratospheric life.