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Elton John has used the image of a rose to grace the cover of the December 1 issue of Britain’s The Independent to symbolize the fight against AIDS.

The singer is guest editor of the daily paper for World AIDS Day.

“This is a day of firsts for me,” he writes. "It’s the first time I’ve had the privilege of editing a newspaper… it’s the first time I’ve switched on a computer, and it’s definitely the first time I’ve been able to say ‘hold the front page’ and people listened.

“Actually, there was no need to hold the front page. As you can see, it’s a specially commissioned art work by one of my heroes, Gary Hume, to mark World AIDS Day. The picture depicts flowers, symbolic of something which flourishes and then dies: I think it’s a powerful statement about the struggle against AIDS.

“You will find other pieces in today’s paper which highlight the good news as well as the grim reality of this global pandemic. You have done your bit already by buying this paper, because all the proceeds are going to my foundation, which has 1,200 projects across 55 countries to help people with AIDS.

“It’s been a proud achievement to spend a day in the editor’s chair, right up there with playing gigs in all 52 states of America. I hope by the time you’ve finished reading today’s paper you’ll be better educated about AIDS, and maybe we’ll have been able to entertain you along the way.”

Proceeds from the paper will go to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

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