David Gest, who made his name as a music producer but became famous for his five-year marriage to Liza Minelli, died Tuesday at age 62 in a London hotel.
Gest’s friend Imad Handi confirmed the death to the Associated Press, saying, “David was truly larger than life. He was not just a huge talent and a dear friend but a showbiz icon.”
The Metropolitan Police force announced that officers were called to “reports of an unexplained death of a man in his 60s” at the Four Seasons Hotel in London’s Canary Wharf on Tuesday morning. A spokesperson said an autopsy would take place “in due course.”
The Los Angeles-born Gest married Minnelli in 2002 amid much fanfare; their union eroded in an acrimonious divorce in 2007 amid claims that she physically abused him.
Gest was also close friends with Michael Jackson, who served as best man at his wedding to Minnelli, and produced a documentary about the King of Pop called The Life of an Icon.
He had gained a recent following in Britain with appearances on reality TV shows including Celebrity Big Brother.
He was due to tour the U.K. this summer in a musical show ironically titled David Gest Is Not Dead, But Alive With Soul.
Gest’s former lawyer, Susan Moss in New York, said in a statement: “David Gest was a kind soul and a great entertainer. He truly will be missed.”