Elton John's forthcoming autobiography, due next week, chronicles how he nearly lost his life from an infection following surgery for prostate cancer in 2017.
The superstar was touring South America following his prostate cancer surgery when he came down with an infection that left him "24 hours from death," he writes in his memoir, Me, according to The Daily Mail.
John's cancer was detected during a routine exam. He elected to have his prostate removed, but was left with a rare complication that caused his lymph nodes to leak fluid.
"A lot of men won't have it, because it's a major operation," John writes of having the organ removed. "I had the surgery done in Los Angeles in 2017, quickly and quietly."
"You can't have sex for at least a year afterwards and you can't control your bladder for a while. I didn't like the idea of cancer hanging over me -- us -- for years to come: I just wanted rid of it," writes John, who has two young sons with his husband David Furnish.
While the surgery extirpated John's cancer, the condition in his lymph nodes had him in and out of hospitals for months until he finally felt well enough to tour again. A routine colonoscopy prior to his tour shifted the fluid in his lymph nodes and caused an infection that left him fighting for his life, he writes.
While on tour in South America, John began to feel unwell and eventually cut the tour short. He then endured a harrowing flight from Santiago, Chile to London during which he "couldn't stop shaking."
Once in London, John was diagnosed with an infection that landed him in the intensive care unit for two days and turned into an 11-day hospital stay.
"The doctors told David I was 24 hours away from death. If the South American tour had gone on for another day that would have been it: brown bread [cockney rhyming slang for 'dead']."
"I was incredibly lucky - although, I have to say, I didn't feel terribly lucky at the time," John writes. "I lay awake all night, wondering if I was going to die. In the hospital, alone at the dead of night, I'd prayed, 'Please don't let me die, please let me see my kids again, please give me a little longer.'"