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April 11, 2002 11:06 AM

Musician Elton John appealed to Congress on Thursday to join the global fight against AIDS by approving more money to help to save 40 million infected with HIV and prevent the deaths of 8,000 people a day, reports PEOPLE. “You have the power to end this epidemic. Please end it,” the musician, 55, making his first appearance on the Hill, told the assembled in the Senate. (Within the next few weeks, Congress is expected to consider legislation for the U.S. to spend $2.5 billion on HIV prevention and AIDS treatment in developing countries.) “We have one thing in common, you and I,” John told the legislators. “We have all been onstage and heard the cheers of the crowd. In my line of work, if you really don’t want it to end — you can even keep it going for a few more encores. But soon enough the lights go up, the crowd files out and we all go home. And in that silence we’re left to ask ourselves whether what we do makes a difference.” John, actually Sir Elton (he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1998), has spent $35 million in 55 countries over the past decade through his Elton John AIDS Foundation. “You have my life,” he told Congress. “I am committed to working on this until I die.”

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