Bob Birch was bass player and backing vocalist in the Elton John Band for twenty years, performing at 1,441 Elton John concerts and on over 50 studio songs.
Birch, a Sterling Heights native and graduate of Wayne State University, was found dead Wednesday near his home in Los Angeles after apparently committing suicide. Investigators are searching for a note to explain the action.
According to EltonJohn.com Bob was the bass player with the longest tenure in the Elton John band, and had just completed a summer tour of Europe with Elton, including the memorable performance at Buckingham Palace in The Queen’s Silver Jubilee concert. In September 2012 he was due to start a North American tour with Elton and the band.
Elton John said: “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.”
Bob lived in Los Angeles with his wife, Michele, and they had one son, Jonathan.