US producer and reality TV star David Gest squandered hundreds of thousands of pounds to feed his gambling addition, it was reported. Hours after the 62-year-old entertainer was found dead at the Four Seasons hotel, in Canary Wharf, friends allegedly revealed to The Sun that he would regularly spend £10,000 in a day on slot machines in marathon casino binges.

One unnamed source told the publication: "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."

Casino-goers often spotted Gest feeding 50p coins into slot machines way into the early hours. One gambler who shared a snap of himself with the late star tweeted: "Just met David Gest in the casino haha ledge."

The Sun adds that Michael Jackson's childhood friend had just £57,629 in the bank at the time of his death and his company, David Gest Limited has debts of £474,000. A spokesperson for the star told the Express: "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."

Gest was found dead in "unexplained" circumstances on 12 April. A post-mortem is to be held to determine the cause of death. He is said to have spent the final 48 hours of his life alone and 'strung out' on sleeping pills.

"He seemed strung out and went off the radar at the times,' a friend told the Mirror. "He was taking some really strong medication because he was suffering from nasty chest problems that just wouldn't go away."

David Gest
Liza Minnelli has refused to comment on the death of her former husband. Reuters