Deon Estus, George Michael’s longtime bass player, dies aged 65

Deon Estus

Bass player Deon Estus, who worked with George Michael from his days in Wham! through his solo career, has died aged 65.

His family announced his passing on his social media pages, but no cause of death was given.

Born in Detroit Michigan his career started when he was a member of funk band Brainstorm for a short period of time. He later moved to Belgium, before heading to Ireland and later settling in London. Here he became an in-demand session musician.

In the early 1980’s he played with Wham! appearing with them at live performances and on television appearances.

He stayed with George Michael and Andrew Ridgely throughout their time as a duo, regularly appearing in their music videos and joining them on the historic 1985 tour of China.

He continued to collaborate with George Michael appearing on both his Faith and Listen Without Prejudice: Volume 1 records.

He toured with Michael for many years and appeared at some of his most iconic performances including Rock and Rio and the AIDS awareness concert The Party: Stand By Me.

Estus also contributed to the Boogie Box High project, a musical collective put together by George Michael’s cousin Andros Georgiou. George Michael appeared uncredited on the groups 1988 album Outrageous singing the Bee Gees hit Jive Talkin’.

In 1989 Estus released his solo project Spell and he had chart success with the song Me or the Rumors.  He also performed a song Heaven Help Me which was written by George Michael and featured the Wham! star on backing vocals. It would be his only solo release.

His career saw him work with many different musicians including Elton John, Tina Turner, Frank Zappa, Annie Lennox and George Clinton.

The remaining members of Wham! have shared their sorrow about his passing. Andrew Ridgely described Estus as the “rock of the Wham! rhythm section”

“He lives large in the memory, he radiated warmth, humour and life’s illuminating light, my heartfelt commiserations go out to his family.” Ridgely posted to social media.

Shirlie Kemp, who sang backing vocals with the band, before continuing on in the music business as one half of Pepsi and Shirlie, said she was shocked to hear of Estus’s death.

“Shocked to hear the passing of such a lovely man. Spent so many years with Deon touring with Wham. God Bless..RIP” Kemp posted to Twitter. While her husband Martin Kemp, who was a member of Spandau Ballet, said Estus was “Mr Club Tropicana” and his bass playing had helped created the sound of the 1980’s.

OIP Staff

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