Elton John and Leon Russell: Dueling Pianos

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During the gala, John took a moment to remember his friend Ryan White, who was among the first children to be diagnosed with AIDS at age 13. Ryan White fought AIDS discrimination to attend school. White died of AIDS 20 years ago at the age of 18.

"We need to carry on his example. We need to bring people together. We need love and support. We need understanding and not hatred," John said at the gala.

"It's quite frightening to see what kids have to go through now and the needless rhetoric that people are coming up with," John said. "We're God's people too. We're put on this earth for a reason. You know, we're different. But then difference is always the melting pot of life."

Always outspoken, John is now speaking out for his long-lost friend, hoping he finally gets the recognition he deserves in the music business.

"He's written some wonderful songs, he's played on the fabric of every kind of American pop record. I want him to be part of people's consciousness," John said. "I want him to be happy, and I want him to be appreciated."

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