Sir Elton John: Nobody knew how close I came to dying

Sir Elton John has said he felt it was necessary to open up about his recovery from cancer because "nobody knew" how close he came to dying.

The music star recently revealed that he was successfully treated for prostate cancer two years ago, having opted to undergo surgery rather than chemotherapy, but that he was later "24 hours from death" after contracting an infection.

The 72-year-old made the revelation in his new memoir, Me, which has been serialised in the Daily Mail.

He wrote that he spent 11 days in hospital after lying awake at night "wondering if I was going to die".

Of his decision to talk about his near-death experience, Sir Elton told Smooth Radio: "I've had a lot of physical things happen to me in the last five years and it hasn't been pleasant, but I got through them and I'm very lucky to have gotten through them.

"But, you just have to grin and bear it and it's that stiff upper lip thing, but I didn't want to say to people 'I've got cancer' or, you know, 'I'm 20 minutes from dying'.

"It was necessary to write in the book because nobody knew about it.

"Nobody knew of how close I was to death with the infection, nobody knew I had cancer but, in the book, I couldn't write it without it.

"I went through a lot of pain and it took me seven weeks after the infection to get back to normal."

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The Princess of Wales is greeted by singer Elton John for the charity premiere of the musical 'Tango Argentina' at the Aldwych Theatre, London, in aid of National Aids Trust and Aids Crisis Trust.
Paul McCartney and wife Linda from the band Wings show off their award for Best Single along with Elton John (c) who won the Best Male Singer and Best Concert Awards.
Elton John live in concert in London, circa 1976.
Elton John live in concert in London, circa 1975.
Musician Elton John sings in to the microphone on stage during a gig.
Elton John signs copies of his new album, 'Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player' at the Noel Edmonds's Record Shop, Chelsea.
Elton John live in concert at Wembley Stadium in May 1974.
Rock star Elton John performing on stage at Wembley Stadium, Londpn
Bespectacled pop star Elton John and television personality David Frost being presented to the Queen at Windsor when they were among a host of stars appearing in a gala variety performance in the Big Top at Home Park in aid of the Queen's Silver Jubilee Appeal.
British pop singer Elton John (right), Lana Hamilton (second left), wife of actor George Hamilton, and rock singer Rod Stewart (left) at New York's Studio 54, to celebrate at a party given by RCA Records, who signed John to a contract with the recording company.
1982: Chairman Elton John leads his first team squad in a song at Vicarage Road as Watford get ready for their first 1st Division clash against Everton on Saturday at home. The club announced a 400,000 sponsorship deal with truck and bus giants Iveco.
The Ruritanian look for the pop singer Elton John, showing his new uniform in London, that will be his hallmark for his British tour.
File photo dated 19-05-1984 of Watford Chairman Elton John on the pitch before the match
Pop singer Elton John
The Prince of Wales shakes hands with Elton John, flanked by his drummer Ray Cooper (l) and Dire Strait's bassist John Illsley (centre) before tonight's rock extravaganza at Wembley to celebrate 10 years of the Prince's Trust.
Pop star Elton John, left, who sold his controlling interest in Watford FC to Robert Maxwell for �2 million, joins the publishing tycoon in the stands at Oxford.
1989: Pop star Elton John (left) and Bob Geldof at a BBC photocall in London . Elton is one of the singers who will be seen taking part in 'Our Common Future', an hour long programme of recorded musical highlights of the Planet-Aid global concert staged in New York. Geldof will be introducing the concert. CELEBRITY
1991: Elton John (r) meet actress Elizabeth Taylor and her husband, Larry Fortensky, at a Gala reception for the Aids Trust which was attended by Princess Margaret.
1991: Newly married actress Elizabeth Taylor with her husband, Larry Fortensky (2nd l), actor Michael Caine and pop star Elton John (r) at a charity reopening of the refurbished Mirabelle restaurant in London's Mayfair.
Watford President Elton John greets Graham Taylor at Vicarage Road today (Thursday) as he arrives to take up his new job as General Manager/PA. Elton John is back at the helm of division two Watford after heading a consortium of investors to take over at Vicarage Road from Jack Petchey, it was announced on 26.4.97. The multi-millionaire will now chair both the new board and a holding company which now owns the club. The former England manager Graham Taylor, who has been influential in bringing John back to Vicarage Road, will also remain a pivotal figure at the club as general manager.
PARIS : 19/1/97 : ELTON JOHN AND DAVID FURNISH AT THE THEATRE NATIONAL IN PARIS AFTER THE PERFORMANCE OF "LE PRESBYTERE N'A RIEN PERDU SON CHARME NI LE JARDIN DE SON ECLAT". PA NEWS PHOTO BY DAVE CHESKIN.
Rock legend Elton John at the Royal Academy of Music in London where he received an honorary membership today (Wednesday). The singer-songwriter, who has sold 150 million records, joined the exclusive club of eminent musicians, whose 250 members include conductor Bernard Haitink and tenor Jose Carreras. Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA. Watch for PA story SHOWBIZ Elton.
PEOPLE ROTOR PIC PIC MIKE MALONY................06.09.97 DIANA PRINCESS OF WALES FUNERAL............. WESTMINSTER ABBEY.............. ELTON JOHN AFTER HIS TRIBUTE TO DIANA
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He added: "But I still did 96 shows that year."

Sir Elton said he is "pretty stoic when it comes to pain", and that he tried to see "the funny side of it all as well".

"I mean, I'm walking across the stage, fist pumping and waving to the audience and, you know, I'm urinating in my trousers and I just think, if people only knew what's going on, they might not be so enthusiastic," he said.

"But, you have to have a sense of humour about everything in life and I just thought 'What am I gonna do? Go back to the hotel room and be in pain? I might as well do an hour and a half on stage here and take my mind off it.'"

The Rocket Man singer added: "I'm super-fit, I'm super-lucky, I'm, you know ... there's hardly any of me left – there's no tonsils, there's no prostate, there's been kidney stones flying out.

"You know, there's no appendix, there's no hair ... What can I tell you? I am just a shell of a man."

Sir Elton previously revealed that his health concerns encouraged his decision to retire from touring so he could spend more time with husband David Furnish and their sons, Zachary and Elijah.

The interview with Sir Elton John by Smooth Radio's Angie Greaves will air at 4pm on Sunday October 13 on Smooth Radio.

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