In 2008, a benefit at the Dorchester Hotel raised £5 million for Nelson Mandela's charities. Elton was among those in attendance, serenading the former South African leader with 'Happy Birthday,' as Mandela was turning 90 that week.
Other guests included Forest Whitaker, Leona Lewis, Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman, Orah Winfrey, Bob Geldof, Cherie Blair and Richard Branson.
In Washington, President Obama called him one of the "most influential, courageous and profoundly good" people to ever have lived. He ordered U.S. flags to be lowered immediately to half staff until Monday evening in tribute.
Mandela had been receiving medical care at home in past months, where he had been in critical condition. He was fighting a recurring lung infection, and had a history of such problems dating back to when he contracted tuberculosis as a political prisoner.