Elton John says infection left him “24 hours from death” following 2017 cancer diagnosis

"I'd prayed: Please don't let me die, please let me see my kids again"

Elton John has revealed that he was “24 hours from death” when he contracted an infection following surgery for prostate cancer in 2017.

The iconic musician, who is due to tour the UK next year, discusses the diagnosis in his upcoming autobiography, Me. In one excerpt, obtained by the Daily Mail, the 72-year-old says that he found out he had the disease following a routine medical checkup.

John explains that he made the decision not to undergo chemotherapy and instead had surgery to remove his prostate, which wouldn’t see his visiting hospital “dozens of times” and interfere with his planned live shows.


Although the procedure was a success, the singer contracted an infection which led to serious problems. “I was incredibly lucky – although, I have to say, I didn’t feel terribly lucky at the time,” John wrote. “I lay awake all night, wondering if I was going to die.

“In the hospital, alone at the dead of night, I’d prayed: Please don’t let me die, please let me see my kids again, please give me a little longer.”

Elton John
Elton John (Credit: Getty)

Recalling the health scare, John said that his “condition was so serious, the hospital didn’t have the equipment to cope with it”, adding: “The doctors told David [Furnish, husband] I was 24 hours away from death. If the South American tour had gone on for another day that would have been it: brown bread.”

Explaining his decision to not have chemotherapy, John said: “I went straight for the surgery. A lot of men won’t have it, because it’s a major operation, you can’t have sex for at least a year afterwards and you can’t control your bladder for a while.


“But effectively my kids made the decision for me. I didn’t like the idea of cancer hanging over me — us — for years to come: I just wanted rid of it.”

Me will be released on October 15.

Meanwhile, Elton John has added new London dates to his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour’ for 2020.