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Saturday, July 10, 1999 Published at 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK


Elton recovers after heart surgery

The singer waves to fans as he leaves hospital

Sir Elton John is recovering at his mansion in the south of France following emergency surgery to fit a heart pacemaker.

The singer, 52, had the operation at the private Wellington Hospital in north London on Friday, after tests revealed he had an irregular heartbeat.

The BBC's Lisa Holland: "He is now well on the way to recovery"
Sir Elton has been given strict orders not to make any sudden movements to ensure that the wires attached to his heart become properly embedded.

He will be unable to play tennis or play the piano for at least two weeks, because he must not lift his left arm above his shoulder. Doctors have given him a two-month convalescence period in total.

[ image: Sir Elton has pulled out of a series of concerts]
Sir Elton has pulled out of a series of concerts
His heart condition came to light last Saturday when he was taken ill as he was flying out to perform at Posh Spice and David Beckham's wedding near Dublin.

Sir Elton, one of the biggest-selling pop artists of all time, told reporters as he left the hospital on Saturday how he became faint and dizzy while playing tennis at his home in Nice.

And he apologised to his fans for having to cancel several concerts, promising that every show would be re-scheduled.

'Special treatment'

He told the waiting media: "It came as a bit of a shock but the operation was a simple procedure, the only thing I really regret is cancelling my shows.

The BBC's Caroline Turriff: "Tests had shown a minor heart imbalance"
"Thank God for the British medical system because I went through every test known to man to find out exactly what was wrong. Initially I thought I had sunstroke.

"I was on the plane to David and Victoria's wedding but I was ill and had to have some tests. I was given the all-clear and went back to France. All it means is that I will get extra special treatment at airports," he said.

"I have spoken to the Beckhams and said that I couldn't play but they understood perfectly and I'll make it up to them sometime.

"I will resume a normal lifestyle after a couple of months' rest. Life will get back to normal."

Rescheduled concerts

Sir Elton apologised to thousands of fans after postponing a series of outdoor summer concerts in Britain which had been due to start this weekend.

Sir Elton was due to perform at Leeds Castle, Kent, in front of 42,000 fans, on Saturday and Sunday.

The concerts, which were to have been staged in a specially constructed arena beside the castle's lake, have now been rescheduled for September.

Concerts at Harewood House, Leeds, West Yorkshire, have also been moved from Saturday 17 July and Sunday 18 July to Sunday 29 August and Monday 30 August.

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