David Gest, producer and celebrity TV star, dead at 62

Story highlights

  • Gest produced Michael Jackson's 30th anniversary special in 2001
  • He also sued Minnelli after they married, claiming emotional and physical damage

(CNN)David Gest, the producer and celebrity television star whose tumultuous marriage to, and divorce from, Liza Minnelli generated countless headlines in the early 2000s, died Tuesday in London. He was 62.

His death was confirmed to CNN by his sister, Barbara Gerber. No cause of death was given.
    London police told CNN they were called to the Four Seasons hotel in the city's Canary Wharf district Tuesday night to investigate the "unexplained death of a man in his 60s."
    Gest, a music and television producer whose credits included Michael Jackson's 30th anniversary concert special in 2001, was perhaps best known for his acrimonious 2002 marriage to Minnelli.
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    Barely a year after they wed in a star-studded ceremony that included Gest's longtime friend Jackson and actress Elizabeth Taylor, Gest sued Minnelli for $10 million, claiming lingering emotional and physical damage from beatings he said he suffered at her hands.
    A New York judge tossed the suit, according to media reports.
    In January 2007, Gest and Minnelli worked out their differences and agreed to divorce without fault.
    A publicist for Minnelli had no comment this week.
    "David was more like a brother to the family," Tito Jackson told "Good Morning Britain," speaking of Gest's relationship to the Jackson 5 . "He was always fun, always joyful. He shared some good times with us."
    The American-born Gest became well known in the UK after appearing on the 2006 edition of the British reality show "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" He later appeared on "Celebrity Big Brother" and other shows.
    According to media reports, he had planned to stage a British tour called "David Gest Is Not Dead but Alive With Soul," named for an incident on an episode of "Celebrity Big Brother" in January in which a fellow contestant mistakenly believed that he was dead.
    Tributes to Gest flooded social media Tuesday and Wednesday.
    "So very sad .. @DavidGest2016 was such fun to be around," tweeted British TV personality Phillip Schofield. "The best stories and gossip, ALWAYS smiling and never a bad word about anyone."