TV star David Gest has died aged 62.

The Hollywood star, who owned a house in York, spoke at length of his love of the city, and said he would like to be buried here when he died, was found in a London hotel on Tuesday morning.

Friend Imad Handi said: "It is with great sadness that I can confirm that David Gest has died today.

"David was truly larger than life. He was not just a huge talent and a dear friend but a showbiz icon.

 "I know he will be missed by millions of fans around the world, and particularly in Britain, who came to love his charm and blistering one-liners.

 "If I may steal the words of one eminent critic, David was a natural star and a genuine celebrity. I will miss him desperately."

Tony Watson, marketing director of York Barbican, worked with former Celebrity Big Brother star at the venue and said he started getting texts and Tweets as the news broke.

He said: "The most abiding memory will be his passion for the city. I'm not from here myself, so every time I met him he would tell me about the best place to get a roast pork dinner and the best sweet shop he'd found.

"He knew every musician from the soul trade in the world and he would come to York and viewed it as a hometown gig. He was always excited to share and he brought in roast pork dinners for The Temptations. He was a big-hearted man with a passion for music and a passion for York. My colleagues have been talking to him of late, everyone's just shocked and stunned."

The former Celebrity Big Brother star and friend of Michael Jackson owned a house in York.

In an interview with The Press in 2011, he revealed he was buying a house in the city and spoke of his love for York.

He joined staff serving fish and chips at Drakes Fisheries in Petergate, and said then: “I love this city very much. I have always thought York is a little place of heaven. I love the old cobbles and the fudge shops.”

York Press:

David Gest at Drakes Fisheries in Low Petergate in 2011

Two years later, he again sang the city's praises and said he was buying a property here.

He said then: "I first came here four years ago and I just fell in love with the city. When you have the Minster, all other churches fade by comparison, and when you walk through the city, it has an elite beauty, and the people are so special. I think I'd like to die here? Not soon - eventually!

"I've lived in New York; Beverly Hills; I still have property in Hawaii; I've lived in Tennessee; I lived in Claridge's for two years, but here it's so special because York is still a part of the past instead of just being in the present. Long after we're all gone, Bettys will still be here.

"And I can walk around the streets. People come up but they come up with such love. I just love it."

In one of David Gest's final broadcast interviews, with Radio York last month, he again spoke of his love for York, describing it as "heaven" and saying that after his death he would like his ashes to be scattered beside the Hog Roast shop in Stonegate, which he was fond of.

Listen to the interview here.

In an interview with The Grimsby Telegraph, also last month, he said he had come to love the UK more than the USA, would never return to LA, and wanted to be buried in York.

His new tour, I'm Not Dead But Alive With Soul tour was due to begin at York Barbican in July.

He was married to Minnelli from 2002-2003, but they only officially divorced in 2007.

He was also known for being a close friend of the late Michael Jackson.

The TV personality gained a further following recently when he appeared on Celebrity Big Brother.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said police were called at 10.17am on Tuesday to the Four Seasons hotel, in Westferry Circus, to reports of an unexplained death of a man in his 60s.

He said: "A post-mortem will be held in due course. Next of kin are in the process of being informed."