David Gest, an American producer and TV personality, was found dead in his London hotel room on Tuesday, police say. He was 62.
Gest, who was married to entertainer Liza Minnelli for five years from 2002 to 2007, was a houseguest on the U.K.’s Celebrity Big Brother earlier this year. He left after only 13 days in the house for medical reasons.
Police released the following statement:
“Police were called at 10.17am on 12 April to the Four Seasons hotel, in Westferry Circus, to reports of an unexplained death of a man in his 60s. London Ambulance Service were called to the scene. Life was pronounced extinct at the hotel. A post-mortem will be held in due course. Next of kin are in the process of being informed.”
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His death was later confirmed to the Independent by Gest’s good friend and associate, Imad Handi.
“It is with great sadness that I can confirm that David Gest has died today,” said Handi. “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.”
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Gest was scheduled to play 24 dates across the U.K. starting in July, in a tour eerily called “David Gest Is Not Dead, But Alive With Soul.” (The page is currently down due to the announcement of his death.)
Born in Los Angeles, Gest was good friends with late pop icon Michael Jackson as a child. Gest even made a documentary about Jackson starring himself, The Life of an Icon, after his death in 2011.
Gest and Minnelli married at a celebrity-studded ceremony with Jackson as best man and Elizabeth Taylor as maid of honour. They separated in 2003, with Gest accusing his wife of beating him. After a lengthy legal battle, they were divorced in 2007.
With a file from The Associated Press
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