One of the biggest names in the history of music, Elton John, also known as Rocket Man, has recently been spotted in a wheelchair, leading many people and media outlets to speculate about his current health condition. To learn about his health update, keep reading.
Who is Elton John?
Elton John is a British singer, pianist and composer, widely rated one of the most popular and influential artists of the 20th century, who’s had a significant impact on the music industry and pop-rock/glam genre. Along with selling more than 300 million albums, he found success on Broadway, composing the music score for the hit “Billy Elliot.” An award-winning and critically acclaimed performer, Elton created a blend of rock and pop music that marked the music scene. During his career spanning five decades, he’s received five Grammy Awards, five Brit Awards, two Academy Awards, and a Disney Legends Award.
Sir Elton Hercules John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on 25 March 1947, in Pinner, Middle Essex, England. His father was Stanley Dwight, a member of the Royal Air Force, and his mother was Sheila Eileen Dwight. Elton was raised on a council estate by his grandparents; interestingly, he developed an interest in music from a young age, and taught himself to play the piano. A very gifted child, Elton was able to pick up songs by ear and play them on his piano, which alerted his parents to his talent. It didn’t take long for Elton to begin performing at family gatherings and reunions, and soon afterwards, he began taking formal piano lessons. His musical punditry was evident through his primary education, where Elton was able to compose melodies, and frequently performed at school functions. Proving his talent, at the age of 11, he scooped a junior scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music – one of his instructors said that Elton played back a very complex piece by Handel after hearing it just once.
Elton spent the next five years at the Academy, perfecting his craft, composing and singing in the choir. Elton always claimed that he wasn’t a diligent student, saying: ‘I kind of resented going to the Academy, I was one of those children who could just about get away without practicing and still pass, scrape through the grades.’ His parents divorced when he was 14, and his mother remarried a local painter, Fred, with whom Elton had a great relationship. Although showing remarkable musical talent, he clashed with his strict father over his plans, as he wanted Elton to choose a more stable career path. Unlike his father, Elton’s mother supported his dream, and even helped him by booking gigs at local pubs and shops. Much to his father’s dismay, Elton dropped out of the Academy when 17 before his examination, to pursue a career in music.
Path to Success
After dropping out of the Academy, Elton began playing with the group Bluesology, and cobbled his stage moniker from the names of two group members. In 1967, Elton answered an ad for a songwriter for Liberty Records, and was hired, which led to his well-known collaborations and partnership with lyricist Bernie Taupin. The two switched to DJM Records the following year, composing and writing songs for other artists. Taking up the advice of a music publisher, the duo began writing more complex songs, which would later prove to be a smart move on their behalf.
In1969, he released his debut album “Empty Sky,” but which didn’t gain the attention Elton and Bernie expected. His major break came the following year, after he released his self-titled album, which featured his first hit, “Your Song,” and more hits soon followed, such as “Crocodile Rock,” “Bennie and the Jets,” and “The Island Girl.” During the ’70s, Elton released a series of top-selling albums, such as “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only a Piano Player,” and “Rock of the Westies.”
Elton John, Caribou Ranch Studios, Colorado – 'Rock of The Westies' recording sessions, 1974 pic.twitter.com/3DNZXKznbF
— Barney Hurley (@barneyhurley1) May 20, 2020
Having gained the status of a glam rock star, Elton became known for his unique live shows, as he dressed in fabulous, colorful and over-the-top costumes, and wearing his signature glasses. In an interview, he disclosed that, unlike David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, he was not a sex symbol, prompting him to focus on his costumes to portray his humorous side, and entertain his fans. In 1976, Elton collaborated with Kiki Dee in releasing the duet “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, but after which, he announced a break from music, as he wanted to focus on a soccer team he co-owned.
His Return to Music
In 1979, he made a triumphant return with the album “A Single Man.” Even though he wasn’t making smash hits in the ’80s, he still achieved some success, and managed to remain on the charts with ballads such as “Little Genie” and “Empty Garden.” Breaching out in a new direction, Elton began collaborating with lyricist Tim Rice, including on the 1995 soundtrack for the animated movie “The Lion King”, and “Can You Feel The Love Tonight,” which brought him his first Academy Award for best original score. He was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of fame in 1994.
Elton and Tim also later scooped the Tony Award for their original musical “Aida.” In 1997, he wrote “Candle in the Wind,” a tribute song for Princess Diana, and this single also became a huge success, and he continued this in the new millennium, writing books, releasing other albums and singles, and appearing in movies. Some of his most successful albums of the 21st century include “The Captain and the Kid” and “The Diving Board”, and Elton was also crucial in bringing the musical “Billy Elliot” to the stage; the show was adapted from the eponymous 2000 movie, and opened on stage in 2008, becoming a critical and commercial success.
Even though he toned down his performances in the second decade of the 21st century, Elton has remained a famous persona and sought-after live act, occasionally sharing the stage with other icons such as Ozzy Osborne, Eric Clapton and Steve Wonder. In 2016 it was revealed that Elton and his partner were working on the biopic “Rocketman”, released in 2018, with the British actor Taron Egerton portraying him.. Also that year, it was announced that Elton would embark on a three-year farewell tour, “Farewell Yellow Brick Road,” comprising 300 concerts worldwide, in collaboration with numerous artists, including Dua Lipa, Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus
During the 1960s, Elton was engaged to a woman named Linda Woodrow, whom he mentioned in his single “Someone Saved My Life Tonight .” Two weeks before the wedding, Elton changed his mind after taking advice from Bernie Taupin and ‘Long John’ Baldry. At the same time, there were rumors about his homosexuality, but nothing was substantiated. In 1970, he began dating John Reid, a manager; the relationship ended five years later. Talking to Rolling Stone magazine in 1976, he revealed that he was bisexual, however, in 1984 he married Renate Blauel, but whom he divorced in 1988. In 1992 he sat down and yet again talked with the Rolling Stone, this time sharing that he was ‘quite comfortable about being gay.’
I find duplicity in your comment that you want LGBT people to “be happy” and that “we have no problem in that”. Yet Russian distributors chose to heavily censor my film “Rocketman” by removing all references to my finding true happiness through my 25 year relationship with David
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) June 28, 2019
In 1993 he began dating David Furnish, a former executive and filmmaker from Toronto. The two were among the first couples to form a civil partnership, and married after same-sex marriage was allowed in the UK. They have two sons born via surrogacy, Zackary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, and Elijah Joseph Daniel Furnish-John.
As an openly gay man, Elton and his comments about Jesus spawned controversy from Christian groups, after claiming that Jesus was a ‘compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems.’ Opponents of gay marriage and Catholics were outraged by his comments, and audacity to claim that Jesus was a ‘sexual deviant .’Later, John revealed that he often received death threats due to these comments.
Hip Injury and Corona Virus
In September 2021, Elton was forced to postpone his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour due to a fall in which he injured his hip, as Elton explained on his social media: ‘At the end of my summer break, I fell awkwardly on a hard surface and have been in considerable pain and discomfort in my hip ever since.’ As a result, he had to undergo hip replacement surgery, causing a lot of pain. Talking to a media outlet about why he postponed his shows, and the constant pain he felt, Elton disclosed: ‘I can’t move sideways, I can’t get in and out of a car. I wouldn’t be 100 percent fit. I wouldn’t be 100 percent confident because I’m in pain most of the time. The decision had to be made because I wouldn’t want to go on the stage and give less than 110 percent.’
He also explained that if he had resumed his touring, his hip would not probably last, so his idea was to do the surgery now and disappoint some people, but he would make it up to them later when he would be in better form.
Thanks @kevinbacon for the nom!! #IStayHomeFor for David and our boys, to stop the spread of coronavirus. Post your #IStayHomeFor pic with a sign like mine and tag six of your friends. Mine are @edsheeran @samsmith @TaronEgerton @sharonstone @MrsSOsbourne & @samfendermusic!
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) March 19, 2020
Then in January 2022, Elton contracted the Corona Virus, and postponed his shows in Dallas. His symptoms weren’t severe, and Elton hoped he would improve before his shows in Arkansas.
On his Instagram, he explained: ‘I’m so sorry to anyone whose been inconvenienced by this, but I want to keep myself and my team safe. Fortunately, I’m fully vaccinated and boosted, and my symptoms are mild.’
Is Elton Sick?
In June 2022, Elton performed in Germany, and following his performance, he was seen in a wheelchair in an airport, which prompted many of his fans to reach out to him and ask about his health. The 75-year-old pop-rock icon explained the situation on his Instagram: ‘After another rousing 2.5 hour show, we arrived at Leipzig airport just before curfew, to find part of the airport had closed. It was an extremely long walk to get to the plane, so my team kindly laid on a wheelchair so I could rest my hip after doing the show. That’s all folks.’
Regarding the rumors of his ill health, he said: ‘The true story is that I’m in top health, loving my shows and playing and singing at my very best. I give 100% every night, and never want to disappoint, especially after everyone has waited so long to get back to seeing shows. Your response to every show has been phenomenal.’
Elton is set to headline the British Summer Time Hyde Park music festival on 24 June 2020.
Drug Abuse and Charities
As commonly happens with most rock stars, they tend to crack under the pressure of mounting popularity and surge of fans, steering them into dark and illicit activities. This is precisely what happened to Elton in 1975, when his stardom began to take a heavy toll, and he had a cocaine overdose that year. Even after this near-death experience, Elton continued consuming drugs to combat his shyness. Cocaine was not his only drug of choice; he said: ‘This is how bleak it was: I’d stay up, I’d smoke joints, I’d drink a bottle of Johnnie Walker and then I’d stay up for three days and then I’d go to sleep for a day and half, get up because I was so hungry, because I hadn’t eaten anything.’
Even though he lost many of his friends to drug abuse, and nearly killed himself accidentally, Elton continued with substance abuse until he met Ryan White, a teenage hemophiliac who contracted HIV through a contaminated blood transfusion. Elton said: ‘I had the luck to meet Ryan White. I wanted to help him, but he ended up helping me much more. Ryan was the spark that helped me to recover from my addictions and start the AIDS foundation. Within six months [of White’s death], I became sober and clean, and have been for 27 years.”
After Ryan died, one of Elton’s good friends, lead singer of Queen Freddie Mercury, also died of AIDS, which prompted him to become more closely associated with AIDS charities, collecting large amounts of money, and using his public reach to raise awareness of the sickness. In 1992, he founded the Elton John Aids Foundation, a charity organization, to provide financial support for various HIV/AIDS prevention programs, and combat prejudice and discrimination against HIV/AIDS-affected individuals. Over the years, he’s launched, created, and hosted various projects, auctions and parties, such as Academy Award Party and White Tie & Tiara Ball, to raise money.
The Unlikely Friendship of Elton John and Eminem
Eminem and Elton John met at the 2001 Grammy Awards, when they performed one of Eminem’s biggest hits, “Stan.” The two developed an unlikely relationship, even though at the time, Eminem was labeled as homophobic. Talking to a media outlet, he said: ‘I didn’t know anything about his personal life. I didn’t really care. But being that he was gay and he had my back, I think it made a statement in itself, saying that he understood where I was coming from.’
Elton and Eminem had many things in common, from being misunderstood to being bullied by their high school peers. In 2006 when Eminem’s friend died, he began falling off the rails, and in the following years he spiraled out of control, culminating with heavy drug abuse. Then after nearly overdosing, Eminem realized he had a problem, and knew who to call for advice. In an interview, Eminem said. ‘When I decided I wanted to get clean I reached out to him because I knew that he had been through a similar thing. From one addict to another, I need some advice.’ He revealed that he gave some great advice, that they kept in touch, and often spoke on the phone.
To get back to Elton’s health update, luckily for his fans, the Rocket-man is as fit as a fiddle, and will deliver his performances, rocking on stage, which he’s been doing for around 50 years!