Deon Estus, the bassist for pop band Wham!, has died aged 65.
Estus was a highly regarded bass player who also performed and recorded with Elton John, Marvin Gaye, Annie Lennox and Tina Turner.
His official Twitter page confirmed his death: “It is with real sadness I post that Deon Estus passed away this morning. Deon was mostly known as the third member of Wham! Deon was passionate about music and loved interacting with his loyal fans.”
Estus’ partner, Brenda Kaye Pearce, also wrote on Facebook: “My dearest, closest partner and significant other of 4 years transitioned and all I can remember is our last conversation the day before. My heart will need time to heal. RIP Deon. Love you forever.”
He joined Wham! as a touring bass player in the 1980s and went on to become a member of George Michael’s backing band after the pop star chose to pursue a solo career.
The bass guitarist played on the incredibly popular Faith tour and toured with Michael until his death in 2016.
He also released a solitary solo album. Entitled Spell, the majority of it was produced by Michael and reached number 89 on the Billboard albums chart.
Estus found greater success with the single, “Heaven Help Me” which peaked at number 5 and featured Michael on backing vocals.
Co-founder of Wham! Andrew Ridgeley took to Twitter to pay tribute: “V sad news today of Deon Estus’ death, A lavishly gifted bass guitarist, a charismatic and impish character and a rock of the Wham! rhythm section.”
He added: “He lives large in the memory, he radiated warmth, humour and life’s illuminating light, my heartfelt commiserations go out to his family.”
Wham! backing singer, Shirley Kemp also offered her condolences: “Shocked to hear the passing of such a lovely man. Spent so many years with Deon touring with Wham!. God bless. RIP.”
No cause of death has yet been confirmed.
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