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Sir Elton John has been awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Joe Biden for his charitable work to end AIDS.
The 75-year-old pop icon established The Elton John AIDS Foundation back in 1982 and after performing hits such as ‘Rocketman’ and ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’ at A Night When Hope and History Rhyme at the White House, he was surprised with the honour by the Democratic leader and his wife First Lady Jill Biden.
Upon accepting the award, Elton said: “Since I founded the Foundation at my kitchen table in Atlanta 30 years ago, I made a commitment not to leave anyone behind and will continue on this mission. We are striving for a future where people of all races, ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientations, and gender identities have the opportunity to live free from AIDS, stigma, injustice and maltreatment – and I’m so grateful recognition like this brings us a step closer to making that a reality. “
The ‘Candle in the Wind’ singer is been married to filmmaker David Furnish, 59, – who serves as chairman of the foundation – and has sons Zach, 11, and Elijah, nine, with him and he paid tribute to Elton as someone who “truly walks the walk” when it comes to the fight to eradicate the immunodeficiency virus.
David said: “It’s on us to make the world a better, more equal place, and Elton is someone who truly walks the walk. He is so deserving of the National Humanities Medal through his constant advocacy for equality throughout his career and through the Elton John Aids foundation. We’re so thankful to the History Channel, A+E Networks and the Biden administration for giving us such an impactful platform to help us meet the urgent needs of people at risk of – and living with – HIV and AIDS.”