Sir Elton John has called for more funding for Aids research and treatment after receiving France’s highest award.
The singer spoke alongside French President Emmanuel Macron in front of thousands of people packed into the presidential Elysee Palace courtyard.
Sir Elton was clearly moved at receiving the Legion of Honour, pinned on him by Mr Macron in a private ceremony attended by the singer’s husband David Furnish and their two children.
The president saluted the virtuoso musician as “an icon that knew how to set an example”, the Elysee Palace said.
“To receive this decoration the day of the Fete de la Musique makes it even more special,” Sir Elton said later in the palace courtyard.
Mr Macron used the occasion to make a call to youth and world leaders to replenish the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria before an October summit in Lyon, France.
He said that 27 million people have been treated and saved through the Global Fund that raised about 13 billion euros in 2016.
“We must do better,” he said, calling on people to mobilise over the next 110 days. “Make life impossible for us,” he told the crowd, appealing to the youth of Europe and the world to badger their leaders.
Sir Elton took up the call. “Success is essential,” he said, adding: “It is of great importance to me.”
The musician has his own Aids foundation, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.
Mr Macron said he had just “decorated someone who created a unique foundation” that gathered 450 million euros for the fight against Aids.
That fight, the singer said, reminds him “each day of the extraordinary power of the human spirit”.
He added: “It is this magical human spirit that I will carry with me as a proud member of the Legion of Honour.”
He performed in Paris on Thursday night in what is billed as a farewell tour.