TRAGIC David Gest blew thousands of pounds gambling in the months before he died — leaving debts of nearly half a million, The Sun reports. Punters saw the entertainer feeding two of the 50p-a-time slot machines at a time.
Pals told how he regularly spent £10,000 in marathon slot machine binges at casinos across the country. One said: “He would spend 24 hours a day chasing the jackpot. David wouldn’t think twice about spending £10,000 in one sitting.
“His losses didn’t seem to affect him but in a 12-month period it was a substantial amount, it was six figures. It was an addiction.” Gest, 62, who suffered hypertension and crippling insomnia, was found dead on Tuesday in a £1,000-a-night East London hotel suite where he had lived for six months.
His company, David Gest Limited, had debts of £474,000 and he was left with just £57,629 in the bank. And he was even said to be preparing to sell his huge collection of Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson memorabilia worth hundreds of thousands of pounds in a bid to make ends meet.
An accountant who examined his accounts said: “His company has been insolvent for some time.” It was claimed that Gest lost more than £100,000 at the Grosvenor casino chain alone in the past year.
Other friends said he also blew four-figure sums on roulette tables. One gambler wrote on Twitter: “I once saw David Gest in a casino playing two slot machines at once. Respect that level of degeneracy.” Others posted selfies with the star at casinos in Leeds, Liverpool and London.
A friend said: “David loved giving off the image of being successful. He worked hard to keep up that image and sometimes the money wasn’t coming in.” The reality TV star had told close pals he planned to sell Whitney and Jacko items at auction house Christie’s. His collection included stage outfits, signed records and rare photos belonging to the late superstars.
The Sun revealed yesterday how Gest, who was once married to singer Liza Minnelli, had been alone for the final 48 hours of his life. Friends reckon the US producer died of natural causes after a two-year battle with ill-health. Police are treating the death as “unexplained”.
A spokesman for Gest said: “David enjoyed gambling and was a popular figure at casinos around the world. He loved to tell stories of his casino triumphs. “As far as we are aware, David has left no gambling debts anywhere.”
Risk linked to hypertension
THE Sun’s Dr Carol Cooper said hypertension is when the pressure is too high in the arteries. This can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, kidney failure and strokes. People with high blood pressure live with the risk of having a serious consequence like a stroke.
High blood pressure does not kill, the effect it has on the body does.