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Elton John says he is 'grateful to be alive' after appendicitis diagnosis

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LONDON - Elton John says he is grateful to be alive after learning he had been playing European tour dates while suffering from undiagnosed appendicitis.

The 66-year-old musician is quoted in The Sun newspaper Wednesday as saying he had struggled through the shows in pain, thinking he had food poisoning.

He later learned "I was a ticking time bomb. I guess I could have died at any time."

He added: "I feel so lucky and grateful to be alive."

On Tuesday John cancelled a show in London's Hyde Park and other summer dates while he is treated for an inflamed appendix and surrounding abscess.

He is due to have surgery in the next few weeks after treatment with antibiotics.

John's new album, "The Diving Board," is due out in September.

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