John says hes back on his feet after illness; honours Clinton at AIDS gala

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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NEW YORK - Elton John says he's back on his feet after being sidelined for the flu and an E. coli bacterial infection.
The entertainer spoke about his recovery before Monday's annual benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which honoured former U.S. president Bill Clinton and Sharon Stone, among others.
"The worst thing about being in the hospital was that, actually, it's the first time I've been in bed for about nine days in the whole of my life, except for maybe when I had my tonsils out," he said. "So, I was all right. I had a good rest; I didn't expect it. The worst thing was having to cancel shows. I hate that. But I'm back on my feet and I'm bouncing around now."
The event, entitled "An Enduring Vision," honoured Clinton, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, Lily Safra and Stone.
Stone called John "a legendary performer and . . . spectacular person."
"(He's) not always easy because he's true and honest and he really is passionate and he really does care," she said. "There isn't any time that I wouldn't show up for him. He's the real thing."
The Elton John AIDS Foundation in part aims to fund innovative HIV prevention programs and to eliminate stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS.
John said the current economic crisis makes his work harder, but stressed that the need to continue in the fight against the disease.
"We are in a bad time economically and everybody's vying for attention . . . we mustn't let AIDS get onto the back seat," he said. "It's very important that it stays in the forefront of our attention because it's a disease that's not going away. In fact it's really increasing in a lot of areas."
The evening's honorees also stressed the need to continue raising funds.
"Look down at your shoes," Stone said to the audience inside. "If you're wearing those shoes, you've got twice as much to give."
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Organizations: Elton John AIDS Foundation

Geographic location: NEW YORK, U.S.

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