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Elton John: Drugs nearly killed me

Sir Elton John was "very close" to being killed by drugs, he says in a television interview.

When he looks back, he shudders at his behaviour, he says.

Interviewer Piers Morgan asks him: "How close did drugs come to killing you, do you think?"

The pop star says: "Very close. I mean, I would have an epileptic seizure and turn blue, and people would find me on the floor and put me to bed, and then 40 minutes later I'd be snorting another line.

"This is how bleak it was, I'd stay up, I'd smoke joints, I'd drink a bottle of Johnnie Walker and then I'd stay up for three days and then I'd go to sleep for a day and a half, get up, and because I was so hungry, because I hadn't eaten anything, I'd binge and have like three bacon sandwiches, a pot of ice cream and then I'd throw it up, because I became bulimic and then go and do the whole thing all over again. That is how tragic my life was.

"I never considered myself a drug addict, I thought drug addicts were people who stuck needles in their arms. And I was the biggest junkie there was."

The star renews his attack on the X Factor. Asked by Morgan why he had described the show as brain crippling and boring, he says: "I can't watch those kind of shows. I find it very disturbing for me from the artists' point of view.

"I'm totally on the artists' side, anybody who appears on the show, whether they've got much talent or not, if they win it, I wonder what's going to become of them, are they just fodder for two years until the next Leona Lewis comes along, or the next Alexandra Burke. Why aren't they going on tour? What's happening? They can't survive, I know, by just making records."

Asked what is the most he has spent in a single spree, he says: "Well, I bought a photograph for a million dollars, and that was a photograph. It was a Man Ray and I've been collecting photography now since 1991 and David (Furnish) and I have properly the biggest private collection of photography and I'm very serious about it. I don't talk about it much."

Piers Meets Elton: A Life Stories Special, is on ITV1 at 9.30pm on Sunday.

© Press Association