Sir Elton John has been presented with the National Humanities Medal for his work fighting HIV/AIDS by US President Joe Biden.

Elton John was presented the award following a performance at the White House on Friday, 23 September – leaving Elton “flabbergasted”, adding, “I’m never flabbergasted, but I’m flabbergasted.”

Presenting the Medal, Biden explained how Elton John had helped forge public opinion and understanding for people living with HIV and AIDS.


“Families and advocates in the fight against HIV/AIDS. A fight that he has led with sheer will, a​​​ fight for those lives lost and those lives we can save. Leaders standing up for equality of all people, no matter who you are or who you love.”

“On behalf of the American people, thank you – and I sincerely mean this – for moving the soul of our nation,” President Biden added.

Elton, who said he would “treasure” the medal performed hits including Your Song, Rocket Man, and Tiny Dancer at the White House concert, as well as a reported presidential favourite Crocodile Rock.

75-year-old Elton also thanked former president George W. Bush for his work on the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) – An effort that accelerated care for HIV/AIDs patients.

“I want to say to the first lady, president Bush accelerated the whole thing with his PEPFAR bill. It was the most incredible thing,” Elton said, addressing the former first lady in the crowd. 

The medal follows Elton’s recent announcement that he would launch a $1 million emergency fund for HIV patients after explaining how the COVID-19 pandemic was impacting care for HIV patients worldwide.