David Gest, producer to the stars and effervescent celebrity in his own right, has died at the Four Seasons Hotel in London early this morning at age 62. His friend Imad Handi provided a statement that not only confirmed Gest’s passing but also spoke of his influence and personality. “David was truly larger than life,” Handi wrote, “He was not just a huge talent and a dear friend but a showbiz icon.” A police statement issued this morning said his death was “being treated as non-suspicious at this stage. London Ambulance Service were called to the scene. Life was pronounced extinct at the hotel.”
Gest became famous for producing spectacular musical events such as the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration in 2001 and Michael Jackson: Life of an Icon in 2011. He has been a close friend of the Jackson family since childhood. Besides the Jacksons, Gest had worked with the likes of Tom Jones and Al Green.
Not content with remaining behind the camera or outside the spotlight, Gest had an infamous celebrity marriage to Liza Minnelli from 2002-2007, including a messy separation beginning in 2003 which had Gest accusing Minnelli of physical abuse and Minnelli’s retort that he was gold digging. He participated in the reality show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! and the documentary This is David Gest, hosted The Friday Night Project, and had guest spots on The F Word and Loose Women, among hundreds of other appearances on British and American television.
Recently, he was noticeably ill on Loose Women and Celebrity Big Brother in the UK, which he had to leave early due to health concerns. According to the BBC, Gest was planning a summer tour David Gest Is Not Dead But Alive With Soul Tour! with acts including Dina Carroll and Freda Payne.