Harvard honors Elton John for efforts to fight HIV, AIDS

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP/WHDH) — Elton John has been honored at Harvard University for his philanthropic efforts to fight HIV and AIDS.

The 70-year-old singer was awarded the Harvard Foundation’s Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award in a ceremony Monday. Previous winners include former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Secretaries General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Javier Perez de Cuellar.

John says he lost friends to AIDS, and regrets not doing more to help as he battled addictions early in his career. He says his life changed when he met Ryan White, an Indiana teenager who became the poster child for HIV awareness during the 1980s AIDS crisis.

John’s AIDS foundation has raised more than $300 million for HIV- and AIDS-related programs since it was established in 1992. John said he was “honored and humbled” to receive the award.

“When every human soul is worthy of our respect and help, HIV won’t stand a snowball’s chance,” said John.

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