Elton John & Emmanuel Macron
Photo: LEWIS JOLY/AFP/Getty Images
Elton John Is Celebrated With France's Highest Civilian Honor
There are plenty of reasons to describe GRAMMY winner Sir Elton John as legendary: his timeless music, avant-garde fashion, LGBTQ+ advocacy and all-around philanthropic efforts. On June 21, French President Emmanuel Macron recognized the decades of greatness and service of John, as he presented him with the country's highest civilian honor, the Légion d'Honneur.
Congratulations to Elton for being honoured with the Légion d’honneur for his @ejaf work Awarded by President @EmmanuelMacron, the pair also discussed the Global Fund replenishment so essential to defeat and #EndAIDS. pic.twitter.com/TtvzVFAu8i
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) June 22, 2019
Macron presented John with the prestigious award at a private ceremony held at the Élysée Palace in Paris, calling him "an icon that knew how to set an example," the Associated Press reports. It took place, fittingly, during the annual "Fete de la Musique," which began in France in 1982 and is now celebrated worldwide as Make Music Day. "To receive this decoration the day of the Fete de la Musique makes it even more special," John said.
The pop music great established The Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992 to help fund HIV/AIDS research and prevention around the world, which, according to its website, had raised over $400 million by its 25th anniversary. For more information on how to get involved with The Elton John AIDS Foundation, visit its website.
"Like music, the fight against AIDS has been my passion for many, many years," John said during his speech on Friday. "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."
Macron used the moment to make a call to action to world leaders (and their constituents, to push them to do so) to give more money to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, ahead of a leadership summit to take place in Lyon, France in October. According to the AP, "he said that 27 million people have been treated and saved through the Global Fund that raised about 13 billion euros in 2016."
John echoed Macron's request to support the Global Fund, adding, "Success is essential. It is of great importance to me."
EJAF is committed to keep fighting this disease. We have the tools to #EndAIDS and we will.
The @GlobalFund will give us the chance to reduce AIDS related deaths by half. Now more than ever a cooperation from all sides is crucial to make this reality. #StepUpTheFight https://t.co/xGXxxXFNvw
— Elton John AIDS Fdn (@ejaf) June 22, 2019
The night before the ceremony, John performed in Paris, as part of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour. You can catch his magic live as he continues the tour. Additionally, Rocketman, the biopic depicting the star's glittering rise to fame, starring Taron Egerton, is in theaters now.