Music producer and reality TV star David Gest, the onetime husband of Liza Minnelli, has been found dead in his London hotel room. Gest was 62. His death was confirmed in a statement from friend Imad Handi.
“It is with great sadness that I can confirm that David Gest has died today,” the statement read. “David was truly larger than life. He was not just a huge talent and a dear friend but a showbiz icon. I know he will be missed by millions of fans around the world, and particularly in Britain, who came to love his charm and blistering one-liners. If I may steal the words of one eminent critic, David was a natural star and a genuine celebrity. I will miss him desperately.”
Gest was found unresponsive in his room at the Four Seasons hotel in Canary Wharf. Police confirmed “reports of an unexplained death of a man in his 60s.” An autopsy is due to take place shortly.
Gest had a colourful life. He was married to Minelli for five year from 2002-2007. He was also a longtime friend of Michael Jackson and friend of his family, producing a documentary Michael Jackson: The Life Of An Icon in 2011, following Jackson’s own untimely death. He also produced what was purported to have been the the highest-rated musical television special at the time with Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration – The Solo Years in 2001, reuniting Jackson with his brothers onstage.
He found a degree of fame in later life as a reality TV star, appearing on the likes of Celebrity Big Brother and I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!