Breaking News Emails
David Gest, whose made-for-the-tabloids marriage to songstress Liza Minnelli set the stage for his second career as a reality TV star, was found dead Tuesday in a London hotel.
Gest, 62, who had left "Celebrity Big Brother" in January because of health problems, was discovered unresponsive at 10:17 a.m. in the Four Seasons in Canary Wharf, according to the Press Association news agency.
"It is with great sadness that I can confirm that David Gest has died today," his friend and former bodyguard, Imad Handi, said in a statement obtained by the BBC.
The statement did not divulge a cause of death.
In a strange twist, Gest was in Britain — where he was especially popular — to prep for a musical extravaganza called "David Gest Is Not Dead, But Alive With Soul" that was supposed to go on tour July 1, the Press Association reported.
The title was drawn from an incident on "Celebrity Big Brother" when cast member Tiffany Pollard mistakenly said Gest had died rather than David Bowie.
There was no immediate reaction from Minnelli to the death of her fourth husband.
Born May 11, 1953 in Los Angeles, Gest grew up with Michael Jackson's family. Before tying the knot with Minnelli, Gest was best known for producing the "Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special," which aired just before the 9/11 attacks and remains the highest-rated musical special in television history.
But it was Gest's star-studded marriage to Minnelli that made him famous.
The King of Pop served as Gest's best man. Elizabeth Taylor was maid of honor. And after 18 months, the marriage collapsed and the tabloids began feasting on the tawdry details.
Gest filed a $10 million lawsuit against Minnelli, claiming she was an alcoholic who once beat him up so badly he had to be hospitalized. He also accused the diva of failing to tell him she had a sexually transmitted disease.
Minnelli also sued, claiming Gest was stolen $2 million in earnings she got for performing in shows her husband produced.
It wasn't until 2007 that the marriage was officially sundered. By then, Gest had already started making his mark in reality TV.
"OMG just found out my great friend @DavidGest2016 has sadly past away," fellow Celebrity Big Brother housemate Christopher Maloney tweeted. "My thoughts are with your family at this time. RIP David x"