Elton John urged world leaders to dig deeper to fund AIDS research as he collected France’s highest civilian honour on Friday.
Sir Elton was awarded the Legion of Honour medal by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris and used the occasion to call for more money for research into the disease, which has cost several of his friends their lives.
“Success is essential, it is of great importance to me,” Elton said, referring to his charity, The Elton John Aids Foundation, has generated more than $395 million for HIV prevention, education and support.
“Like music, the fight against AIDS has been my passion for many many years. And like music this fight reminds me every day of the extraordinary power of the human spirit. And that things that bind us are stronger than those that divide us. It is this magical human spirit I will carry with me as a proud member of the Legion d’Honneur,” the 72-year-old said.
Elton and the President entered the courtyard ceremony hand in hand as the rocker’s husband, David Furnish, and their two sons looked on. The rocker wore a navy suit with the words ‘Bennie & the Jets’ written on the back of the jacket – a nod to his 1973 hit.
“Merci beaucoup President and Madame Macron for welcoming our family so warmly. It was the most beautiful day that we will never forget,” David captioned a collage of images form the ceremony on Instagram.
Elton performed in Paris on Thursday night on what has been billed as his farewell world tour, Farewell Yellow Brick Road.
While he didn’t acknowledge the honour on social media, the Your Song hitmaker shared a series of backstage snaps showing him with his famous friends who attended the show, including Lenny Kravitz, Jean Paul Gaultier and Tilda Swinton, who was in Paris for Karl Lagerfeld’s memorial.
“FANTASTIC gig in Paris last night! Thank you @lennykravitz, Tilda Swinton and @jpgaultierofficial for coming to see the show,” he wrote alongside the photos.