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Biden surprises Elton John with National Humanities Medal

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President Joe Biden presents Elton John with the National Humanities Medal after a performance on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on Friday. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/8d2da42e3d23cb9c5467ae9ea25806f7/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
President Joe Biden presents Elton John with the National Humanities Medal after a performance on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on Friday. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 24 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden surprised music icon Elton John by presenting him with a National Humanities Medal following a performance at the White House on Friday.

John was given the medal for his singing and songwriting career, and also for his contributions to charities and humanitarian causes such as HIV/AIDS.

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John covered his face in disbelief when the medal was presented to him.

"I'm never flabbergasted, but I'm flabbergasted and humbled and honored by this incredible award from the United States of America," he said, overcome, moments after clutching Jill Biden's hand and hugging her husband.

"I will treasure this so much," he said.

The Elton John AIDS Foundation was launched in 1992 and has since raised over $450 million and funded programs across four continents.

Biden, a big fan, described John as a "tidal wave," quoting Irish poet Seamus Heaney, and praised his "incredible career."

John was at the White House as part of his farewell tour and also part of an event to honor "everyday history-makers in the audience," according to the White House. There were also teachers, military families and LBGT+ advocates in the audience.

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Among those in attendance were former first lady Laura Bush, tennis champion Billie Jean King, British Ambassador to the United States Karen Elizabeth Pierce, and John's husband, David Furnish.

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