Elton John underwent surgery in 2017 for prostate cancer — and quickly returned to the stage

By Maria Pasquini
November 30, 2019 01:15 PM
Elton John
Andrew H. Walker/Getty

The show must go on!

In a new interview with Graham Norton for the BBC, Sir Elton John revealed that during one Las Vegas show in 2017, he had to wear a diaper onstage under his outfit.

The performer, 72, explained in the interview that the concert took place two weeks after he underwent surgery for prostate cancer, according to the New York Post. As his bladder control had been affected, he opted to wear a diaper during the show.

“If only they knew,” he said, referring to the audience members, “at that moment I was pissing myself.”

RELATED: Elton John Returns to the Stage in Nashville After Postponing Show Due to Illness

In his new autobiography, Me — which was released in October — the legendary musician opened up about how close he came to death after contracting a massive infection following the surgery.

Although the procedure itself was successful, 10 days later, the star began experiencing pain while performing a show in Las Vegas, he said in the book, which was previously excerpted in the Daily Mail.

He was “leaking fluid” from his lymph nodes, he wrote, adding that the rare complication was cured “by accident” when doctors performed a routine colonoscopy a couple months later, just a few days shy of his 70th birthday.

Elton John
Kevin Winter/Getty

However, John wasn’t out of the woods yet. As the singer recalled in the excerpt, while on a flight back from South America, he noticed that he “couldn’t stop shaking. He went on to have another surgery and spent the next two days in intensive care, according to the Daily Mail excerpt.

“When I came round, they told me I’d contracted a major infection in South America,” John wrote. It was far more serious than doctors first suspected — he says doctors informed his husband, David Furnish, that the performer was “24 hours away from death” and would have died if he hadn’t been treated when he did.

RELATED: Elton John Hijacked a Rolling Stones Concert While on Cocaine — and Keith Richards Wasn’t Happy

John went on to share that the health scare helped him realize he was ready to retire from touring (he’s currently on his Farewell tour) and spend the bulk of his time with his family.

“It was like being shown a different life, a life I realized I loved more than being on the road,” he wrote. “Music was the most wonderful thing, but it still didn’t sound as good as Zachary chattering about what had happened at Cubs or football practice.”

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