How Elton John helped save Eminem from near-fatal drug addiction

US rapper Eminem, who was taking up to "30 Vicodin a day" when he nearly died of a prescription drug overdose in 2007, reached out to longtime friend Sir Elton John for help during his turbulent journey to sobriety.

A new biography about the acclaimed artist, who is consistently cited as one of the greatest rappers of all time, reveals Eminem was mere hours from death when he was rushed to hospital for consuming the equivalent of "four bags of heroin". 

The 'Lose Yourself' hitmaker, 47, relapsed two more times in his bid to get clean before reaching out to the iconic British singer for guidance, according to biographer Anthony Bozza's latest book, Not Afraid: The Evolution of Eminem.  

"As a fellow musical superstar with nearly 30 years of sobriety under his belt, Elton John was the perfect mentor to help guide Marshall [Mathers]," Bozza wrote, as reported by the Daily Mail.

"The two started on a program of weekly check-ins and grew very close."

John's mentoring developed a close friendship between the artists, despite Eminem's notoriously controversial lyrics often referencing homophobia.

"I didn't know [Elton] was gay," Eminem claimed in 2004. "I really didn't care."

John said Eminem was "just writing about the way things are" and never viewed his friend as homophobic.

Eminem's debilitating descent into addiction rapidly spiralled following the murder of his best friend and collaborator, DeShaun 'Proof' Holton, in 2006. He increasingly used opiates and benzodiazepines to self-medicate, his drug abuse and weight gain exacerbated by depression.

"Some days I would just lay in bed and take pills and cry... I needed pills in my body just to feel normal, so I would be sick. It was a vicious cycle," Eminem admitted.

According to Bozza, the star was consuming up to 30 Vicodin tablets a day - a combination medication of paracetamol and hydrocodone, an opioid used for pain relief. He was also abusing Valium, a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and alcohol withdrawal, taking between 40 to 60 pills per day.

In 2007, Eminem overdosed on methadone after swapping Vicodin for the 'liver friendly' opioid. After waking up in the ICU, he was informed he had consumed the equivalent of four bags of heroin.

With the help of John's mentoring, the rapper eventually got clean in 2008. He celebrated 11 years of sobriety in April by sharing a photo of his sobriety coin.

"Eleven years - still not afraid," he captioned the shot on social media.