Elton John to receive France’s top honour

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PARIS, June 18, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Rock legend Elton John is to be awarded
France’s highest civilian honour this week as he passes through Paris as part
of his farewell tour, the French presidency said.

The Legion d’Honneur award will be presented to the 72-year-old megastar
by President Emmanuel Macron during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in the
French capital on Friday.

The singer, whose life was captured in the searingly honest “Rocketman”
biopic that wowed critics at Cannes film festival last month, is not expected
to perform although he was expected to use the occasion to promote his
charity work.

Although parts of his five-decade career were lived in a hazy whirl of
sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, the British performer has used his stardom to
promote gay rights and AIDS causes and was expected to launch an appeal on
behalf of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

His own charity, the Elton John AIDS foundation, was set up in 1992, just
months after his friend Freddy Mercury died of the disease. It has since
raised more than $400 million (357 million euros).

Macron’s office praised him as a “piano virtuoso, melodic genius and a
true showman” who was also “one of the first gay artists to have the courage
to say it and to give voice to the LGBT community in the media.”

Last year, the consummate showman announced he would retire after a final
global tour, saying he wanted to spend more time with his children.

His “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour kicked off in Pennsylvania in
September.

The three-year extravaganza, which is expected to involve some 300 shows,
will see him performing in Lille on Tuesday before taking the show to Paris
on Thursday followed by an appearance in Bordeaux and Nimes.

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