David Gest dies at 62

David Gest

David Gest

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Reality TV star and music producer David Gest died today in London aged 62, his friend Imad Handi said in a statement.

Gest was well known for his touring soul shows – only last year his (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life tour visited Preston Guild Hall.

Margaret Mason (centre) with John Gillmore of Radio Lancs, David Gest and Luke Marsden

Margaret Mason (centre) with John Gillmore of Radio Lancs, David Gest and Luke Marsden

He was also a frequent visitor to Blackpool.

In Preston, producer Gest introduced Bill Medley, of the legendary Righteous Brothers, on his first-ever UK tour; Sheila Ferguson, the former Three Degrees lead singer; Deniece Williams; The Tymes; Billy Paul; Cece 
Peniston; Dorothy Moore; Gregory Abbott; Kenny Thomas; and R&B vocal group Atlantic Starr’s Barbara Weathers.

Gest produced the highest-rated musical special in television history, Michael Jackson’s 30th anniversary celebration, the performer’s last concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Gest, a former Celebrity Big Brother star, was married to Liza Minnelli from 2002-2003, but they only officially divorced in 2007.

He was also known for being a close friend of the late Michael Jackson.

The TV personality gained a following in the United Kingdom recently when he appeared on Celebrity Big Brother.

Friend Imad Handi said: “It is with great sadness that I can confirm that David Gest has died today.

“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.”

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Police were called at 10.17 on Tuesday 12 April to the Four Seasons hotel, in Westferry Circus, E14, 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.”

Mark Whittle, manager of Preston Business Improvement District, said: “We worked with David to promote his sell-out show at the Guild Hall last year and had the pleasure of having him as our special guest at the ‘Smiles Better Awards’, last June.

He was a pleasure to work with and brought a real excitement to the event. We are saddened to hear the news of his passing.”