Christmas baby for Sir Elton
Friends of Sir Elton John congratulated him after he became a father to a baby boy born on Christmas Day.
Actress Elizabeth Hurley was among the first to offer her best wishes to the singer and his civil partner David Furnish, whose son Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John was born in California to a surrogate.
Writing on Twitter, she said: "Massive congratulations to David and Elton on having their beautiful son. Can't wait for my first cuddle."
Zachary, who weighed 7lb 15oz, is Sir Elton's first child with Furnish. The couple's civil partnership was formalised in 2005.
The news that they had become parents was first reported by USMagazine.com and confirmed by Sir Elton's Los Angeles-based publicist.
In a joint statement, the couple told the magazine that "Zachary is healthy and doing well" and declared themselves "overwhelmed with happiness and joy at this very special moment".
The identity of their son's surrogate mother is being protected by the new parents.
Sir Elton had spoken previously of his desire to become a father, announcing last autumn that he wanted to adopt a 14-month-old boy from an orphanage in Ukraine. He revealed that the couple had always talked about adoption but that it was Furnish who wanted to do it and he who had objected as he is in his 60s.
It was the death of his long-term keyboardist, Guy Babylon, that helped changed his mind in the end. Mr Babylon, who died of a heart attack aged 52 last year, had two children whom the singer described as "wonderful".
He said at the time: "What better opportunity to replace someone I lost than to replace him with someone I can give a future to?" But his plans to adopt were reportedly thwarted by Ukrainian laws.