Sir Elton John stunned as Joe Biden awards him special medal for his work on ending AIDS

'As surprises go it was a big one for Sir Elton' - ITV News reporter, Alex Iszatt, reports on US President Joe Biden's decision to award Sir Elton John a medal for his work to end AIDS


Sir Elton John has been surprised with a medal from US President Joe Biden, honouring his work in the battle to end AIDS.

The British star gave a special performance on the White House lawn to the president, First Lady Jill Biden and around 2,000 “everyday history makers” on Friday night.

The event, A Night When Hope and History Rhyme, saw an audience which included teachers, students, nurses, LGBTQ+ advocates, military families and mental health advocates assemble, on the South Lawn to watch the multiple-Grammy award winning artist.

Organised by the History Channel and A+E Networks, Sir Elton performed several of his smash hits, including Tiny Dancer, Rocketman and Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.

The Bidens then surprised the singer with the National Humanities Medal for his work to end AIDS and assist those living with the condition, through the Elton John Aids Foundation.

He appeared visibly stunned as Biden presented him with the medal.

In accepting the award, Sir Elton said he felt honoured and emotional at the recognition.

“Since I founded the Foundation at my kitchen table in Atlanta 30 years ago, I made a commitment not to leave anyone behind and will continue on this mission,” he said.

“We are striving for a future where people of all races, ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientations, and gender identities have the opportunity to live free from AIDS, stigma, injustice and maltreatment - and I’m so grateful recognition like this brings us a step closer to making that a reality.”

The singer’s husband, David Furnish, who is also chairman of the Elton John Aids Foundation said: “It’s on us to make the world a better, more equal place, and Elton is someone who truly walks the walk.

Sir Elton John with his husband David Furnish. Credit: PA

“He is so deserving of the National Humanities Medal through his constant advocacy for equality throughout his career and through the Elton John Aids foundation.

“We’re so thankful to the History Channel, A+E Networks and the Biden administration for giving us such an impactful platform to help us meet the urgent needs of people at risk of – and living with – HIV and AIDS.”

It was the 75-year-old British songwriter’s first White House gig since he performed with Stevie Wonder, at a state dinner in 1998, to honour former prime minister Sir Tony Blair.

Sir Elton is currently on a farewell tour, which began in July, after more than 50 years of performing.


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