While performing "Live to Tell," Madonna features photos of Keith Haring, Herb Ritts, Freddie Mercury and others who died of AIDS
During the 65-year-old Queen of Pop's ongoing Celebration Tour, she features photos of several individuals who lost their lives to AIDS — including Keith Haring, Herb Ritts and Freddie Mercury — while she sings the 1986 hit "Live to Tell," an anthem about perseverance.
Two weeks into the tour, which kicked off Oct. 14, John took to social media and expressed admiration for the emotional moment in Madonna's show. "We're deeply moved by the heartfelt tribute from @madonna during her Celebration Tour performance of ‘Live to Tell’, honouring the 40.4 million people we've lost to AIDS," wrote the 76-year-old icon in a joint statement with his Elton John AIDS Foundation.
"Thank you, Madonna, for your advocacy and compassion, and for raising important awareness of the ongoing mission to end AIDS. With 39 million people living with HIV today, 9.4 million of whom are not currently on life-saving treatment, we must keep using our voices and platforms to ensure everyone has the opportunity to live full and healthy lives," continued the post.
Madonna has previously used "Live to Tell" to honor those who've lost their lives to AIDS, most notably on the Confessions Tour in 2006, when she performed the song from a large crucifix and displayed facts and statistics about the disease's effect on the world.
She and John have been friends for decades, though their relationship has also been rocky. He's publicly criticized some of her performances, songs and interview quotes — though he's since offered apologies, which she accepted.
During a recent Celebration Tour show at the Sportpaleis in Antwerp, Belgium, Madonna opened up about how she's feeling on stage following her scary hospitalization for a serious bacterial infection over the summer.
"Less than four months ago, I was in a hospital and I was unconscious, and people were thinking, predicting that I might not make it," said the performer, according to fan-filmed footage.
"So, it’s a f---ing miracle that I’m here right now. My mother, God bless her, she must be watching over me — she said, ‘Girl, it’s not your time to go,'" continued the "Vogue" singer, whose mother died of breast cancer in 1963.
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Madonna told the crowd she recently had a "strange thought" about her mother. "I suddenly had sympathy and empathy for my mother, not about the dying part, but how lonely she must have felt laying in a hospital, knowing that she wasn’t going to live, and I was given another chance," she said. "So I’m very grateful for that."
The Grammy winner then shared details of her current physical condition. "I must tell you, I don’t feel really well right now, but I can’t complain ‘cause I’m alive," said Madonna. "Thank God for my children and all of you for your love and support, I really appreciate it."
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