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Elton John opens up about his efforts to help George Michael before his death

The two singers were close friends for many years

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Fiona Ward
Fiona WardActing Fashion and Beauty Editor
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Elton John has spoken candidly about his relationship with the late George Michael, admitting that he made many attempts to help him while he battled with drug addiction. He told Channel 4 News: "I tried to put my arms around him. I tried to help, but you can't help people who don't want to help themselves. I've learnt that as an addict and I'm 28 years clean and sober. When people told me when I was using that I was doing the wrong thing I was so angry and I just told them to go away or I actually used stronger language than that."

elton john george michael© Photo: Getty Images

Elton and George on stage together in the nineties

He continued: "So, I understand George, you know when I said a couple of things, and he did a whole page interview… saying I should shut up and I understood what his reaction was." Sir Elton famously live-recorded his 1974 single Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me with George in 1991, to huge success in the UK and America. 

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On his own struggles with drugs, Elton added: "Addiction is a horrible thing. And two or three of our friends are mired in addiction at the moment and I've learned there's nothing you can do 'til you actually say 'okay I'm going to do something about it, I need help'. Took me 16 years to say it. I know I'm intelligent. I know I have a problem and I can go for six months without it, but it always got worse when I started back on it."

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George Michael passed away on Christmas Day 2016. "It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period," his publicist told HELLO! in a statement. "The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time."

elton george© Photo: Getty Images

The pair were very close and shared similar struggles

Elton posted his own tribute to his long-time friend following the news, posting a snap of them together on his Instagram page. He captioned the photo: "I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend - the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family, friends and all of his fans."