Liza Minnelli’s ex-husband, David Gest, has died in a London hotel aged 62, a statement from his friend Imad Handi says.
The entertainer, producer and reality TV star died at the Four Seasons hotel in Canary Wharf.
David Gest’s friend and ex-bodyguard Imad Handi confirmed the news in a statement.
The entertainer had planned to tour the UK in July with his latest show, called the David Gest Is Not Dead But Alive With Soul Tour!
Several singers were due to appear on the tour, including Dina Carroll and Freda Payne.
The show was named after the mix-up on this year’s Celebrity Big Brother, when Angie Bowie informed Tiffany Pollard that David – meaning her ex-husband Bowie – had died during their time on the reality show. Tiffany Pollard broke down in tears believing David Gest, who was ill in bed at the time, had died.
David Gest stayed in the Celebrity Big Brother house for 13 days but left the series on medical grounds.
In 2007 he was admitted to hospital with chest pains and respiratory problems.
One of the biggest successes during his career was producing the highest-rated special in US music history – 2001’s Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration.
David Gest was perhaps best known for his marriage to Liza Minnelli. They were married in 2002 and officially divorced in 2007. He was also a childhood friend of Michael Jackson and his brother Tito.
His name-dropping anecdotes and raucous tales of showbiz friendships during his appearances on reality TV shows won him legions of fans in the UK.
David Gest finished fourth in ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here in 2006, and later became a judge on talent show Grease Is The Word.
In 2011, Cliff Richard worked with David Gest on his album Soulicious.
David Gest helped develop the concept of the album, which saw Cliff Richard collaborate with soul singers including Roberta Flack and Candi Staton. He later produced and directed the Soulicious tour.
Imad Handi, who confirmed the news of David Gest’s death, described him as a “huge talent”.
“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.”
A Metropolitan Police statement said: “Police were called at 10:17 on Tuesday 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.”
Police have said there appear to be no suspicious circumstances.
David Gest was born on May 11, 1953, in Los Angeles, California. He worked as a music video and TV producer.
He released an autobiography, titled Simply The Gest, in 2007.
David Gest’s appearance often hit the headlines, and he said having cosmetic surgery was his “biggest regret”.
For the last few years of his life David Gest lived in York – shying away from his former lifestyle in LA.
David Gest married actress and singer Judy Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli in 2002 in a star-studded wedding at New York’s St Regis hotel.
The couple’s 300 guests included Michael Jackson, Joan Collins and Martine McCutcheon.
Michael Jackson was the best man at the ceremony, arriving with matron of honor Elizabeth Taylor and Diana Ross.
His brothers Tito, Marlon, Randy and Jackie were among the groomsmen.
Martine McCutcheon, together with actresses Mia Farrow and Janet Leigh and singer Petula Clark, was a bridesmaid at the ceremony.
David Gest and Liza Minnelli announced their separation a year later and divorced in 2007 when their lawyers filed court papers saying they had settled their differences and agreed to get divorced without fault.