*Deon Estus, the longtime bass player for Wham! and George Michael behind the 1989 hit song “Heaven Help Me,” died Monday (Oct. 11) at age 65, reports Billboard, citing a post on his official social media accounts.
“It is with real sadness I post that Deon Estus passed away this morning,” reads a post on Estus’ Twitter page. “Deon was mostly known as the third member of Wham! Deon was passionate about music and loved interacting with his loyal fans.”
His partner Brenda Kaye Pearce shared this message to Facebook on Monday: “My dearest, closest partner and significant other of 4 years transitioned and all I can remember is our last conversation the day before. My heart will need time to heal. R.I.P. Deon. Love you forever.”
Estus — born Jeffery Dean Estus in Detroit in 1956 — had a top five solo hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Heaven Help Me,” which reached No. 5 in April 1989. The song, co-written and featuring background vocals from Michael, who also solely produced it, peaked at No. 3 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Adult Contemporary charts. “Heaven Help Me” was released in 1989 from Estus’ lone album, Spell.
Below, watch his 1989 performance of “Heaven Help Me” on the Netherlands show “CountDown” below:
In addition to his work with Wham! and Michael, according to Estus’ bio, he supplied the grove behind Tina Turner, Elton John, Marvin Gaye, Frank Zappa and Annie Lennox.