Clay Aiken fans – AKA Claymates – are lighting up Internet forums on the subject of Aiken's gay admission like a giant Christmas tree.

In a People interview available at its website, Aiken admits he's gay and discusses how he came out to his family.

Shocked Claymates sounded off at Aiken's official fan website.

“I had no idea he was gay. ... I didn't go to work today and am not answering the telephone,” wrote one commenter.

“I've cried a river of tears and truthfully do not know where I stand right now. I am envious of those who can take this news [of Aiken being gay] and continue to state their unconditional love and support for Clay. Right now all I can think of is he is a fantastic entertainer, but I took him at his word and it appears that his word isn't what I thought it was,” another post read.

“This is a gut wrenching day for the ClayNation. Somebody wake me up, I hope it's a dream,” wrote another commenter.

The People issue available at newstands Friday includes Aiken on the cover holding his infant son Parker Foster Aiken and a headline that reads, “Yes, I'm Gay.”

In 2003, Aiken wowed fans on Fox's American Idol singer talent contest, where he won runner up. Since then, the singer has churned out multiple best-selling albums and appeared on Broadway.

The admission has caused controversy among the crooner's fans, who have brushed off gay allegations for years. Aiken, 29, has long denied he's gay.

Parker Foster's birth by artificial insemination to friend, music producer Jaymes Foster in August soon gave rise once more to gay speculation. It also motivated Aiken to admit he's gay.

“It was the first decision I made as a father,” Aiken told People. “I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn't raised that way, and I'm not going to raise a child to do that.”

American Idol judge Simon Cowell bristled at the news, telling Extra: “Wow. That's a shock. It's like being told Santa Claus isn't real. Unbelievable.”

Then added: “Good for him. If he said it, it's the right thing for him. ... I don't think anyone cares. Let's face it. It's 2008. You know. Who cares?”

The pop star says he only revealed he's gay to his family four years ago, first to his mother Faye. As the pair drove home after dropping off his younger brother Brett at Camp Lejeune, where he was to be deployed to Iraq: “I started crying in the car. It was dark I was sitting there, thinking to myself. I don't know why I started thinking about it ... I just started bawling. She made me pull over the car and it just came out.”

“She started crying. She was obviously somewhat stunned. But she was very supportive and very comforting. She still struggles with things quite a bit, but she's come a long way.”

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), a pro-gay media watchdog group, supported Aiken's decision to come forward.

“We congratulate Clay for making his decision and for setting an example for others and his family,” said GLAAD President Neil Giuliano. “As we're seeing, more and more gay people, including celebrities, are living openly and honestly, and this has tremendous impact in terms of creating awareness, understanding and acceptance.”