Oscar-winning pop superstar Elton John, in ill health the past week, underwent surgery Friday to insert a heart pacemaker.

The hourlong procedure was, by all appearances, a success. The 52-year-old singer/songwriter, in fact, walked out of London's Wellington Hospital today for all the rabid British press to see.

"I feel very well," John told reporters. "I'm a bit stiff, a bit sore, but everything went really well."

The first sign something was awry came last Sunday, when John was a last-minute no-show at Posh Spice's wedding to soccer star David Beckham at a castle in Ireland. John was scheduled to perform.

"Literally, I was on the plane to David and Victoria's wedding, but I was ill and had to have some tests," John said today. "I was given the all-clear and went back to France."

John's absence originally was blamed on heat stroke. On Friday, it was announced that the singer was nixing another string of appearances--three mega-sized weekend shows in Britain--reputedly because of an ear infection.

But the real problem was an irregular heartbeat. A pacemaker is designed to fix that problem. It regulates the heart's rhythm via an electrical charge.

An official statement from John said the only downside of wearing a pacemaker "is that I have to carry a card explaining why I set off the alarms when I walk through airport security."

The popster promised to reschedule every postponed show. There was talk he hoped to be back on stage as early as August.

The British-born John is the second biggest-selling solo artist in U.S. history, moving more than 20 million albums, according to a 1998 survey. His catalog of hits includes: "Rocket Man," "Daniel," "Your Song" and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." His 1997 reworked version of "Candle in the Wind," a tribute to Princess Diana, is the top-selling single of all-time.

In 1995, he won an Oscar for composing, with lyricist Tim Rice, The Lion King ballad, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight."