Sir Elton John admits ‘I was very, very close to death’ as he announces retirement tour

January 25, 2018
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Sir Elton John (Getty)

Hours after denying he is to retire due to health fears, Sir Elton John admitted nearly dying while touring in 2017.

The I’m Still Standing singer, 70, admitted being unaware that he was “very, very close to death” while on tour in South America last year.

He was forced to cancel a series of nine live shows after contracting a virus that could have killed him.


Speaking to The Sun Sir Elton explained: “I was very unlucky. I got a clean bill of health in March just after my birthday.

“I went to South America, had a wonderful tour with James Taylor. Came back from Chille, felt bad on the plane, got home on a Tuesday night.

“I was in intensive care on Thursday and stayed there for two nights.”

He then confessed: “I was very, very close to death. I didn’t know that.”

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07: Sir Elton John and David Furnish attend the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates Its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

“I was very fortunate, I had a great team of doctors. It took me seven weeks to get back to normal.

“I had tubes coming out of every – and that’s a wake up call.”

Opening up about his two sons, who he adopted with husband David Furnish, he added: “You know, you think about your own mortality. And you think, ‘God, I want to spend more time with my boys.'”

The interview comes after an announcement he is to perform his last ever tour after 50 years in the music industry.

Sir Elton John (Photo TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Sir Elton’s farewell tour will be spread over a whopping three years – taking in 300 performances around the globe.

Speaking at a press conference in New York he said: “I always thought I was going to be like Ray Charles, BB King – on the road forever.

“My priorities have changed. We had children and I changed our lives. That doesn’t mean to say I’m not going to be creative, but I’m not going to travel.”

The star denied reports that he was retiring due to ongoing ill health, despite last year’s shock virus.

Sir Elton John (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

“Last year I picked up an infection and I was very ill and it knocked me sideways,” he said.

“But I still did 96 shows. Believe me – if you ever do 300 shows, you’re not in ill health.”

The five-time Grammy winner has sold more than 300 million records during his career and is one of the most in-demand live performers on the planet.

Sir Elton John, Elijah Joseph Daniel Furnish-John, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John and David Furnish (Getty)

He indicated the decision earlier, cryptically writing online: “A wrinkle in time. Past meets present… You’ll finally see where the future lies…”

Sir Elton’s friends reportedly pleaded with him to slow down after the health scare.

A source told The Sun: “Elton has a real close-knit circle of friends who are genuinely worried about him.

“Nobody wants him to burn himself out and they hope this recent scare will encourage him to take stock.

“But he’s not even considering retirement at present.”

Last year he admitted that a change in his work was inevitable as he marked his 70th birthday.

“Obviously I work – but the work will get less and less and I’ll spend more time with my children growing up.

Elton John’s AIDS Foundation has raised more than $385 million for HIV- and AIDS-related programs (Getty)

“And that’s what I want to do, I’ll gradually phase things out in a few years.

“It’s not forever but I want to see my kids grow up. I go all over the world. I just don’t want to tour so much.”

The announcement comes weeks after his beloved mother passed away aged 92.

His late mother, Sheila Farebrother died age 92 in December, just months after the mother and son ended their longstanding feud.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07: Sir Elton John attends the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates Its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

In a post to Instagram, he described the funeral as “perfect”.

Writing after her funeral he said: “Dear Mum, today’s funeral was perfect.

“Having the service in the family chapel and attended by your brother and sister brought us all comfort.

Sir Elton John (Getty)

“Having the service where Nan lived out her final days brought you and your Mother back together again.

“Tomorrow your friends will gather separately to say their good byes. I’ve chosen all the music so everything will be just right.”

He added: “Thank-you for bringing me into the world and for all that you have done for me. Love, Elton #RIP.”

More: David Furnish, death, Elton John, illness, Music, retirement, tour

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