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Elton John and his epilepsy

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Elton John’s career has spanned almost four decades and made him into one of the most successful musicians of all time. He’s released over 30 albums, sold over 250 million copies to date and even received a knighthood in 1998.

But like many of his contemporaries, Elton John saw early on that fame did not come without its problems. In the 70s and 80s, the now 63-year-old fought a seemingly losing battle against drug abuse.

“For some people a gram of cocaine can last a month,” he told Parade. “Not me. I have to do the lot, and then I want more. At the end of the day, all it led to was heartache.”

In the candid interview, John also reveals that drug addiction also led to unhealthy relationships: “Just about every relationship I ever had was involved with drugs. It never works. But I always had to be with someone, good or bad, otherwise I didn’t feel fulfilled. I’d lost the plot.”

Elton John's epilepsy was reportedly triggered by his heavy drug use

However, it also triggered another problem. According to various online sources, the singer-songwriter began to suffer from severe epileptic fits in the 1980s. The cause of these is thought to be his heavy drug-use, cocaine in particular. The fits had reportedly lessened and then gone away completely in the 1990s, when John stopped his substance abuse.

Epilepsy is not the only condition to have plagued Elton John either. In 1999, he was hospitalised and fitted with a pacemaker after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat, People magazine reported.

At the time, he told reporters outside London’s Wellington Hospital: “I feel very well. I’m a bit stiff, a bit sore, but everything went really well,”

In his interview with Parade, the musician stated that his famous anti-AIDS campaign was partly driven by his wish to “make amends for the years I was a drug addict. People with HIV are still stigmatized. The infection rates are going up. People are dying. The political response is appalling. The sadness of it, the waste.”

Other celebrities who have suffered from epilepsy include Prince, Hugo Weaving and Danny Glover.

Images: Wikimedia Commons

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