Sir Elton John has revealed he was “24 hours from death” after contracting a serious infection following prostate cancer treatment.
The 72-year-old has opened up about his 2017 diagnosis of the cancer for the first time in excerpts of his new memoir, Me, published by the Daily Mail.
John explained he opted for prostate surgery rather than chemotherapy because he didn’t want the disease “hanging over” his family.
He recalled the surgery in Los Angeles was a “complete success”. But as a result of the procedure, the singer suffered complications that left him hospitalised.
During his tour at the time, on a flight back to London from South America, Elton recalled he “couldn’t stop shaking.”
He said he was eventually taken to a hospital after “feeling worse than I ever had in my life” and it was revealed he had a serious infection.
“There were MRI scans and God knows how many other procedures,” John wrote.
“The doctors told [husband David Furnish] I was 24 hours away from death. If the South American tour had gone on for another day that would have been it: brown bread.”
Elton said he spent 11 days in a London hospital lying awake at night “wondering if I was going to die”.
“In the hospital, alone at the dead of night, I’d prayed, please don’t let me die,” he wrote.
“Please let me see my kids again, please give me a little longer.”
Elton John says cancer recovery ‘showed him a different life’
At the time, Elton had to cancel eight US concerts between April and May.
Elton said the health battle was partly behind his decision to retire from touring to spend more time with husband David Furnish and sons Zachary and Elijah.
“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,” he wrote.
“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.”
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