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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 December 2005, 02:06 GMT
In pictures: Sir Elton John's life

Sir Elton John performing on Top of the Pops in 1970

Sir Elton John, who is entering into a civil partnership with lover David Furnish, was born Reginald Dwight in 1947. He studied music before working as a session musician.

Sir Elton John on Top of the Pops in 1974

After Sir Elton's first hit single, Your Song, in 1970, he and lyricist Bernie Taupin had a string of UK and US successes such as Crocodile Rock and Daniel, plus number one albums.

Sir Elton John performing in the 1980s

Sir Elton is renowned for his flamboyant stage outfits. During the 1970s and 1980s, he established himself as one of the world's most popular live acts.

Sir Elton leaving the High Court after winning damages from the Sunday Mirror newspaper in 1993 over a report on his health

Sir Elton has fought media intrusion into his personal life. He sued The Sun in 1988 over claims about his sex life, winning a reported 1m and a front page apology.

Sir Elton John and Luciano Pavarotti in 1996

Sir Elton has performed with the biggest names in music, working with opera stars like Luciano Pavarotti and writing musicals including The Lion King and Billy Elliott.

Sir Elton John and David Furnish arrive at his 50th birthday party in 1997

Sir Elton was married to Renate Blauel for three years from 1984. He later spoke of difficulties with drugs and food. He has been with film producer David Furnish since 1994.

Sir Elton John arriving at Princess Diana's funeral at Westminster Abbey in 1997

Sir Elton was devastated when his friend Diana, Princess of Wales died. He performed Candle in the Wind at her funeral, adapting the lyrics to commemorate her life.

David Furnish and Sir Elton John leave the High Court in 2000

Sir Elton's spending habits, including 290,000 on flowers in 18 months, were revealed when he took his former management company and accountants to court over touring costs.

Sir Elton John and Eminem

After gay protestors targeted Eminem over his anti-homosexual lyrics, Sir Elton publicly backed the singer by performing with him at the US Grammy awards in 2001.

Sir Elton John performing at Live 8

Having performed at Live Aid in 1985, Sir Elton John played the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park in July to back the anti-poverty campaign.

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