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Elton John: ‘Drugs turned me into a self-centered monster’

Elton John turned into a selfish “monster” at the height of his drug use, and shunned the chance to help others during the early days of the AIDS epidemic.
The critically acclaimed musician has since founded his Elton John AIDS Foundation, and since 1992 and he has raised hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide for programmes supporting those dealing with the disease.
His philanthropic efforts were recognised when he received the Harvard Foundation’s 2017 Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Monday night (06Nov17), but the 70-year-old admitted while accepting the accolade that he wishes he’d got started sooner.
Recalling how he felt “imprisoned by (his) extraordinary fame” early on, which he says turned him into “a loathsome person” who was “selfish, self-centered, disconnected,” Elton explained he was too busy with drugs and alcohol when the AIDS epidemic began in the 1980s to help others.
“I’m really a kind person, but the drugs made me a monster,” he told the audience at Sanders Theatre. “Do not waste your life. I wasted my life, but I’m making up for lost time now, OK?”
The Rocket Man singer went into more detail about what triggered him to get sober and involved in the cause, naming teenager Ryan White, who was banned from school after contracting AIDS from a blood treatment, and the suffering his family went through as his wake up call.
Warning that funding for HIV prevention services in the U.S. is being threatened, Elton – seemingly referring to President Donald Trump’s policies – continued: “Health care for the poorest and most vulnerable is under attack, unjust immigration policies are driving people underground and away from the services they need, racial injustice and violence are once again on the rise, civil liberties for LGBT people are being threatened…
“All of this is so deeply upsetting. But I promise you, we can change the world and it all starts with embracing our common humanity.”

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