Robert Wayne Birch found dead in apparent suicide
Birch worked on Sir Elton's 1997 version of Candle in the Wind
Continue reading the main story
Elton John cancels Vegas shows
Sir Elton John tops album chart
Elton sues Times over tax story
Musician Robert Wayne Birch, who had recorded and toured with Elton John extensively since the early 1990s, has been found dead in Los Angeles.
The bass player and saxophonist died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head, officials said.
LA County Assistant Coroner Chief Ed Winter said Birch's body was found in the early hours of Wednesday morning in the San Fernando Valley area.
The case is "being investigated as a possible suicide," Dr Winter said.
Guitarist Birch, 56, joined Elton John's touring band in 1992 and worked on four of his albums, as well as the 1997 re-working of Candle in the Wind.
Much of his time over the past 20 years had been dedicated to touring with the British star, but he also collaborated with a string of other famous names including Eric Clapton, BB King, Stevie Wonder and Tina Turner.
Sir Elton is currently taking a break from touring, and returns to performing in Ontario on 7 September. No comment has been issued regarding the bass player's death.
TMZ reported that police did not find a suicide note and there were no apparent signs of drug use.
Birch is survived by his wife, Michele, and a son, Jonathan.
“I am devastated and shocked at the loss of my friend and fellow musician, Bob Birch. My heart goes out to Bob’s wife Michele, his son Jonathan and his family. To me Bob was family. He had been a member of my band for 20 years; we played over 1400 concerts together. He was one of the greatest musicians I have ever worked with, and in all our years on the road he never played or sang a bad note.
I cannot find the words to describe this tragic death, and how much I loved him. May he rest in peace.”
August 16, 2012