By MESFIN FEKADU
AP Music Writer
Elton John honored Hillary Rodham Clinton for her work to help those affected by HIV and AIDS at an annual event for his foundation.
Clinton was excited as she accepted the first founders award from the Elton John AIDS Foundation Tuesday night in New York City. The former secretary of state told the crowd at Cipriani’s restaurant that “we still have so far to go” when it comes to helping those affected by HIV and AIDS.
Billy Joel, Alec Baldwin, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Lisa Marie Presley and Courtney Love also attended John’s “An Enduring Vision: A Benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation” event. Recent Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Heart performed a dozen songs, including the hits “What About Love” and “Alone.”
John was passionate throughout the night, urging the attendees that there should be AIDS “treatment for everyone, treatment for all.”
The event raised $1 million through an anonymous donor and more funds through an auction, which included a lunch with Anderson Cooper for $12,000 and a one-hour tennis lesson with Novak Djokovic for $60,000. Two different signed photos of John taken by Terry O’Neill went for $26,000 and $27,000, respectively.
Matt Lauer hosted the gala, filling in for Anderson Cooper who was on assignment in Washington, D.C. He provided laughs at the start of the event, but received helped from John’s partner, David Furnish, who also worked to facilitate the program.
John’s foundation is celebrating its 20th year. Before presenting Clinton with her award, John paid tribute to Furnish.
John added that he was touched by Clinton’s speech in Geneva, when she declared that “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.”
John told the AP before the event that he hopes Clinton runs for president in 2016.
Clinton also headlined a New York fundraiser on Tuesday night for Terry McAuliffe, a longtime family friend who is running for Virginia governor.
The former secretary of state has largely avoided political events this year but is helping McAuliffe and New York mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, a former campaign aide. Mrs. Clinton plans to publicly endorse McAuliffe at a campaign event in Falls Church, Va., on Saturday.
Associated Press entertainment producer John Carucci contributed to this report.