In February, during Elton John’s 2020 Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, Elton broke down on stage. In tears, he told the audience that something had gone wrong, terribly wrong. Compassionate fans were very worried. As a way to spend more time with his family, Elton set up the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.
During his farewell tour, he suddenly stopped singing and play the piano. As he bent his head over the keyboard, he cried. Elton explained to the audience what had really happened to him on stage during the show. To get to know the story, read this article.
1. Me: Elton John’s Official Autobiography
Release October 15, 2019, Elton’s memoir provides an in-depth look into his thinking and his way of seeing things. Elton’s life was extraordinary in almost every way. His lifestyle was like a roller coaster ride, shown in the hit film Rocket Man. It explains how he became a legend living.
His memoir Me: Elton John’s Official Autobiography provides a detailed account of his life. It explains his fight against death. Elton came close to dying from complications to his prostate cancer surgery. He battled with health complications for several months. Life on the road was not kind to Elton after that.
2. Elton John’s Early Years
Shy on the inside with an outward gregarious appearance, he hit America between the eyes. At the age of 23, he started his career in America. Wearing the brightest yellow pants, with wings on his boots, they did not know what to make of him. The music was not the same after that event. And Fans started lining up.
His drama-filled life led him down many roads and to meet many famous people. Through it all, he stayed humble and open, warm and kind. Elton is open about all the mistakes he made in the past and persevered through it all.
3. Early Cancer Diagnosis
After a routine check-up, doctors were concerned about Elton’s blood work. The prostate-specific antigens had increased. They referred him to an oncologist, where a biopsy was done. With positive cancer screening from the biopsy, Elton had only a few choices for his future if he wanted to survive his disease.
An extensive course of radiation treatments was one option for treating cancer. Option two: surgery to remove the cancerous tumor entirely. Elton’s medical prospects looked good because they had caught the cancer issue early. Ten years after prostate cancer treatment, most patients have similar results. Whether they received radiation or surgery.
4. Chemotherapy was Out of Question
He was diagnosed in 2017 early in cancer’s development. The singer, 70, did really not want a chemotherapy treatment. Chemotherapy was one option Elton’s doctors presented to treat his prostate cancer. Chemotherapy, a very long, also drawn-out process, he felt neither he nor his family could endure.
Elton wanted to do the operation, but he left the final choice up to his family. Comprehensive chemotherapy treatment would have been brutal on his family and himself. Elton did not want a long-term illness hanging over his family for months or even years. Extensive radiation treatment would have been hard on everybody.
5. Successful Cancer Treatment
Doctors reviewed a list of possible complications involving prostate surgery. Thus, understanding the possible complications, he wanted the operation and saw this as the only possible option for himself. With the operation, sex is prohibited for a year or could be even more. Bladder control would be an issue as well.
He discussed the choices with his husband David Furnish, and their sons Zachary and Elijah. Elton’s family decided he should have the surgery. Elton said the surgery in Los Angeles was a “complete success.” He endured the surgery just fine with no complications. His prostate cancer treatment was successful.
6. Wonderful Crazy Night Tour Starts
Elton’s Wonderful Crazy Night Tour started as usual with travel from venue to venue. It was taking place in North America and Europe in 2016, 2017. The tour was quite extensive, covering several countries. It was in support of Elton’s 32nd studio album.
The first stop was Los Angeles on January 13, 2016. Then to Paris in early February. To the United States and on to Israel, Russia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. By early 2017 he was back in North America. He started his South American tours again in April 2017. To find out the rest of Elton’s story, read on.
7. Doing His Shows after Prostate Surgery
Elton stopped in Los Angeles for his prostate surgery in early 2017. He was aware prostate cancer is pretty common among men. Explaining that he was blessed with the ability to bounce back from illness, he did the show even if it could be exhausting for him. Elton never gave it another thought.
He was unconcerned about the possibility of additional health complications. Feeling his constitution would allow him to continue, he wore a diaper on stage in Las Vegas a few days later. He had yet to regain bladder control. Always thinking of his fans, he moved forward to do a show.
8. Wonderful Crazy Night Tour hits South America
It started in South America while on tour in April 2017. He arrived in Santiago, Chile. It had been a truly life-changing event which he looked back on with deep emotion. The prostate surgery was successful and everything seemed to get better. But then ten days later, John contracted a fever and a major bacterial infection.
It was an extremely rare complication from the operation. Elton’s medical team recognized the signs and identified the condition immediately. Before putting him on the plane back to England, they started treatment. The singer was grateful his medical team was there to help him.
9. Emergency Flight Back to England
Interrupting his South American tour, Elton was flown back to London. He arrived at King Edward VII’s Hospital. The hospital was unable to deal with his severe condition. They lacked the right equipment to provide him with the required medical treatment. This situation seemed to get very complicated.
Elton was then transferred to the London Clinic. Elton underwent more surgery by 2:30 p.m. Besides needing surgery, fluid had built up in his diaphragm. The lymphatic fluid had to be drained. Round-the-clock treatments started. His family was deeply concerned. It would take weeks before Elton could get back on his feet.
10. Dangerous Bacterial Infection and Fever
The singer had a pretty large-scale infection. The hospital treated it with heavy amounts of antibiotics intravenously. Unfortunately, the fever returned and Elton did feel very bad. The hospital conducted more tests to determine what type of infection Elton had. It was a very dangerous bacterial infection.
It was fortunate they brought him back to England when they did. Numerous MRI scans and other procedures later, Elton was still hanging on. He was fighting for his life. David, Elton’s husband, was told Elton was 24 hours away from death when they brought him in. They got him there just in time.
11. Intense Prayer while in Intensive Care
Elton spent two days being in intensive care undergoing treatment. The singer prayed this was not the end for him. He asked that his life was not over. He wanted to see his kids again, wanted to do things he loved. Furthermore, he wanted to live.
Thus, in the dead of night alone and grief-stricken, this might be his last night. He prayed. Elton said: “In a strange way, it felt like the time I spent recuperating was the answer to my prayers – if you want more time, you need to learn to live like this, you have to slow down.”
12. Wonderful Crazy Night Tour Cancellations
The singer’s 2017 South American Tour was over. His team canceled the Las Vegas Million Dollar Piano Concerts. The California Wonderful Crazy Night concerts were canceled. Nine shows had been scheduled over the next two weeks. All had to be unexpectedly canceled.
Elton’s management released a statement. They explained that infections of that type were rare and potentially deadly. The singer’s medical team had identified the problem in time to get him the proper treatment. They said he was expected to make a complete recovery. Elton was fortunate to be alive. To find out the rest of Elton’s story, read on.
13. Eleven Deadly Days for Elton John
Elton John spent eleven days in the London Clinic. Each day, Elton wondered if it would be his last. Night after night, lying awake wondering if he was going to die. He could only pray to survive this whole thing.
Elton was shaking with fever and in a great deal of pain when they brought him back from tour. He knew he was very ill because he kept saying, “please let me get well.” He kept telling people he wanted to see his kids again. The singer would wake up with tubes coming out of every part of his body.
14. Rare Complication from Prostate Surgery Explained
The complication from his prostate surgery was very rare. The lymph nodes in his body would leak excess fluid. This ailment causes a great deal of pain, which explains Elton’s daily pain. The excess fluid had to be drained periodically. This complication caused the singer to be in and out of hospitals for months.
The singer was able to recover enough to leave the London Clinic after his eleven-day stay. Elton returned home to recuperate for the next two months. He also had to learn to walk again. But the most important thing was of course that he didn’t die there.
15. Fans Uncertain What had Happened to Elton
Fans were told Elton John was resting at home after a viral infection which put him in the hospital. Elton reached out after returning home to his loyal fans. He felt fortunate to have so many deeply loyal fans. They were incredible, he apologized for disappointing them. His fans always mattered pretty much to Elton.
He said how grateful he was to the medical team who cared for him. Elton felt the medical team was excellent. But the road to recovery was not really so clear and straightforward for Elton. Follow-up treatments continued for many months afterward. What would happen next
16. Struggling with the Aftereffects
The operation and bacterial infection had left him tired and physically weak. Health problems continue to plague him. Elton’s body was so weakened by his life struggle he had to teach himself to walk again.
Learning to walk again takes dedication and commitment. It is an ongoing daily struggle. But well worth it once you accomplish your goal.
Other health issues continued. Incontinence problems brought on many awkward moments. Talking about such a sensitive subject brings on so much embarrassment. The recurring infections had to be dealt with each time. The never-ending doctor visits. It really wasn’t an easy time.
17. Elton like the Bionic Woman
In November 2019, Elton explained extra details of his brush with death. BBC One Uncensored covered many aspects of Elton’s life. He joked he was like the Bionic Woman. He was missing his colon, appendix, tonsils, prostate, and hair. Not much of him left, he said. He wears a pacemaker and is dealing with kidney stones.
With all that going on, he says he is fine. The drama surrounding his near-death experience prompted him to make plans to retire. The time was very hard for Elton, and he thought that he really needed time to recover and give his body the break he needed.
18. A Different Life – A Life Elton Loved More
Life at home with his family was beneficial for Elton. He was used to being on the road with his wonderful music; he loved it. He was deeply invested in entertaining his fans and making them happy. This new life, a different life at home with his family, was satisfying.
At home, the music of his family’s laughter replaced his need for music on the road. Listening to them talk about their day was hearing music to this singer. His doubts about retiring disappeared with each child’s laugh or story. If you want to find out what was happening next, read on.
19. Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour Starts
Elton embarked on his farewell tour in September 2018. Even with continuing health issues, he intended to make the tour. The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour would be his last, closing out his musical life on the road. The singer intended to dedicate more time to his children.
In November, the singer had to call off shows in Tampa and Orlando, Florida. Severe ear infections kept him from being able to hear properly. His doctors determined the antibiotics were not clearing up his ear infection. So, he could not do either show, which was in fact really disappointing to Elton.
20. Orlando – Tampa Fans Deeply Unhappy
Many fans sat in the stadium, continuing to wait. They waited long after the announcement; the show had been canceled. They hoped it was not true. The Orlando and Tampa shows were canceled hours before each were to open. Ongoing health difficulties kept Elton busy with his doctors. Rather than being able to do his shows.
On social media, he apologized to his fans and want to give them an explanation. He explained the antibiotics had not cleared up his ear infection. Since Elton does live performances, he would not be able to hear his band. He stated his fans deserved better.
21. Elton’s Last Go Around
During a 2018 event in New York City, Elton mentioned this tour would be his last go around. Giving up the world stage and tours would be difficult, but had to be done. Elton John stated he had had a pretty good run. Few people, if any, have a career like Elton’s.
He sold three hundred million records worldwide. And over 50 top 40 hits, 26 gold albums. Thirty-eight platinum albums or multi-platinum albums and one diamond album. Now he would spend more time with his husband David Furnish and their sons Zachary and Elijah which sounded good to Elton.
22. More Health Problems, More Cancellations
During the Verona concert in May 2019, the singer again had difficulties. Elton had trouble with his voice during his vocal warm-up routine. Elton went ahead and did the first show. But, he struggled to be able to complete his performance.
The singer pulled out of doing the second show due to the issue. His Facebook page stated he was dealing with the flu. After doing one show in the damp and cold outdoor arena, his condition worsened. His vocal cords became inflamed, and doctors advised him not to go on. To find out the rest of Elton’s story, read on.
23. Rocket Man the Film
A biographical musical fantasy drama film defines Rocketman. The film is based on Elton John’s life and music. Written by Lee Hall. Directed by Dexter Fletcher. Titled after Elton’s “Rocket Man” 1972 song. The film covers Elton’s early days. As a wonder child of the Royal Academy of Music in England, through Elton’s partnership with Taupin.
Taron Egerton stars as John. Bernie Taupin is played by Jamie Bell and John Reid by Richard Madden. Sheila Eileen, John’s mother, is played by Bryce Dallas Howard. The film was then released in May 2019 and was a big honour to Elton John.
24. Rocket Man in Cinemas
The film dramatizing Elton John’s life came out in cinemas. Actor Taron Egerton played Elton John. Rocket Man was a success and a triumph for Elton. Critics loved it. May 2019 turned out to be a pretty good month for Elton and things seemed to get better.
Impressed with the film, Elton explained he was glad he did not have to live through it again. It was an accurate portrayal of his life, and some parts were hard for him to watch. He did not want to hide those difficult parts of his life. The singer felt Egerton’s performance was especially impressive.
25. Off Like a Rocket
Due to his performance in Rocket Man, Egerton was nominated for a BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Award. Egerton won also the best actor Golden Globe Award, which is pretty amazing. It was in fact in the Motion Picture Musical or Comedy section.
Elton’s new song “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” brought about recognition of merit and a great deal of approval. Elton performed the song with Egerton for the movie. The film won several awards. Although, May 2019 started with some health bumps for Elton. He was able to end the month on a high note with Rocket Man.
26. Elton’s Assessment of Rocket Man the Film
Some studios wanted Elton to tone down the sex and drugs in the movie to get a PG-13 rating. As Elton explained, that was not his life in the ’70s and ’80s. It had to be an accurate portrayal of his life and to get it this accurate is indeed not that easy.
Richard Madden got something of John Reid in his portrayal of him. Jamie Bell got something of Bernie in his portrayal. Elton was pleased with their performances. Elton was astounded by Edgerton’s singing. Although they did not look or sing alike, Edgerton had captured some essence of Elton.
27. David Furnish manages Rocket Man
Elton kept a discrete distance from the actual movie-making process. He was allowing his husband, David Furnish, to do the hands-on managing. Elton felt it would be uncomfortable for everyone if he were lurking around. He made a few decisions. Otherwise, he left everything up to David.
The song Elton and Bernie Taupin wrote in 2001, “I Want Love,” was at the beginning of the film. Elton knew it was in the show, but had no idea where. It brought him immediately to tears. He was not prepared for the power of the film or anything that would come next.
28. Elton John’s Autobiography – Me
The book was released on October 15, 2019, by Macmillan Publishers. Journalist Alexis Petridis ghostwrote the book. The book outlines Elton’s early years and discusses many famous friends and even more pretty interesting things.
Elton became upset with Princess Diana. She had backed out of writing the forward to a book for his Aids foundation. They did not speak for a while, but he reconnected with her later. They reconciled the day Gianni Versace was murdered. He recounted how actors Richard Gere and Sylvester Stallone almost came to blows at a party at his home. Mr. Furnish had to intervene.
29. Today – The Life of Elton John
October 14, 2019, Harry Smith interviewed Elton. They discussed his near-death in Chile and the life flight home to England in April 2019. Elton explained he wrote about his cocaine addiction and many other things like his friendships with Elizabeth Taylor, John Lennon, and Princess Di.
Elton sang a very emotional “Candle in the Wind” at Princess Diana’s 1997 funeral. He had become close to Prince Harry, Diana’s son. The death of several dear friends from Aids spurred Elton to set up his foundation. It raised money for Aids research. To find out the rest of Elton’s story, read on.
30. Elton John Uncensored – BBC One Documentary
For a BBC One documentary – Uncensored, in November 2019, Elton discussed many aspects of his book. He openly discussed his drug addiction and his battle with alcoholism. He used to drink an entire bottle of Johnnie Walker Black a day.
Elton would stay awake for three days, not eating, then gorge himself. He was bulimic. He explained how lonely his existence was. One day he asked himself, “am I gonna die, or am I gonna live? What do you wanna do?” And it was pretty hard for himself to answer all these questions. So he needed to make some changes.
31. Elton John’s Second Academy Award
Best Original Song – the Academy Award was given to Elton for the song he wrote for Rocket Man. This is a pretty amazing achievement to get in one’s live. His new song “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” performed with Taron Egerton for the movie, was a significant hit.
Elton’s first Academy Award received in the ’90s was for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” written for The Lion King. 2020 looked to be a good year for Elton, starting on a high note. The following week he broke down on stage. His health concerns had not gone away. They were still there.
32. I’m Gonna Love Me Again
Elton John’s song “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” was extremely successful. It won numerous accolades, including – “Best Original Song” at the 77th Golden Globe Awards. It won “Best Song” at the 25th Critics’ Choice Awards. It won “Best Original Song” at the 24th Satellite Awards. And it won Best Original Song at the 92nd Academy Awards.
It was nominated and won numerous other awards as well. “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” was an over-the-top success and should have put Elton John on a high point for 2020. To find out what is going to happen next, read further on.
33. Auckland New Zealand Concert
In February 2020, Elton was playing at the Mt. Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. Doing his best to continue his Yellow Brick Road concert tour. After performing 16 of the planned 25 songs for his show, he had to be examined by a physician. He told the audience of loyal fans he did not know how much longer he could sing.
Breaking down in tears trying to sing “Daniel,” one of his hit songs, Elton stopped singing. He had lost his voice. He apologized as assistants helped him off the stage. It was another pretty hard moment for Elton.
34. Fans Appreciated Elton John’s efforts to Entertain Them
Even though he was having trouble with his voice, Elton tried his best to entertain his New Zealand Fans. The crowd cheered and applauded, standing up to clap and cheer. They appreciated his efforts to sing for them and never giving up to entertain them.
As “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” sounded through the stadium, the crowd began to sing to the music. During this, Elton disappeared from the stage. Elton had been diagnosed with walking pneumonia that day. But, determined to go on, he was able to share 16 of the 25 songs he had arranged which was pretty great.
35. Walking Pneumonia Steals Stars Voice
The singer posted an Instagram message to his fans, explaining what had happened. Although advised against it on February 15, he had gone on to perform in Auckland. Knowing he had been diagnosed with walking pneumonia. He intended to give his fans the best show he could, but his voice didn’t let him.
He sang and played his heart out until his voice gave out. Elton was deeply disappointed and sorry to leave his fans hanging. He thanked his fans for their supportive comments and love. He was indeed very grateful and touched by how his fans accepted his situation.
36. Fans Supportive of Ill Singer
Encouraging notes were posted in the comment section by loyal fans. Fans were positive and supportive. Among the comments was one from Bernie Taupin, John’s long-term songwriting partner. He mentioned how he would be praying for Elton’s recovery. Neil Patrick Harris, actor and musical star, told Elton to feel better calling him Captain Fantastic.
One person mentioned how moved his mother was by John’s just being there trying his best and giving his all for them. She had enjoyed herself, and so had many others. They applauded him for providing a spectacular performance. The fans always tried to support him.
37. Effects of Walking Pneumonia
Not only were fans disappointed, so was Elton. Walking pneumonia affects the throat and voice and is caused by a bacterium. Mycoplasma pneumonia causes fatigue, fever, and coughing. It feels like a horrible cold, and Elton really suffered from it.
Bed rest or hospitalization are not usually necessary for the ailment. Per the American Lung Association (ALA). That doesn’t stop you from feeling miserable. The ongoing cough, fever, headache, mild chills, and chest pain results in fatigue. But, the ALA also recommends taking good care of yourself and getting plenty of rest. With Elton’s ongoing health issues, more care is needed.
38. Auckland Performances moved to January 2021
Incredibly disappointing New Zealand fans, the rest of the tour was canceled. New Zealanders would have to wait till January 2021 to see his shows. Doctors and specialists told a disappointed Elton he could not continue. His scheduled tour in New Zealand was at an end.
The singer released a statement to the media. He was unable to give 100% to his audience under the present situation. Elton was grateful for the loyalty and love from his New Zealand fans. Elton is looking forward to performing for them in January 2021. To find out what is going to happen next, read further on.
39. Australia, I’m Back
John was in Australia the following week. He shared on Instagram he loved looking back at the highlights of his previous tours. Elton wanted to make more highlights during his scheduled shows to give his fans a very good entertainment.
He also mentioned how upsetting it was for him to reschedule his last two shows in New Zealand. Elton thanked his New Zealand fans for their loving support the previous week. Unfortunately, he was forced to put his health first. Those January shows in New Zealand may be Elton John’s last shows. Loyal fans are expected to pack those venues.
40. Yellow Brick Road U-Turn
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, several of Elton’s tours have been rescheduled. Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tours start in September 2021. They are beginning with Berlin and other European cities. North American tours were rescheduled as well. New Orleans would restart the tour in the states in January 2022. Houston, Chicago, Toronto, New York, Miami, other cities will follow.
Auckland’s two January 2021 performances were rescheduled to January 2023. Mt Smart Stadium will not see Elton John for two more years. Hopefully, New Zealanders will get to enjoy Farewell Yellow Brick Road. Elton’s 2020 January-February New Zealand shows were special. He and his band delivered his songbook to the audience.