Elton John's bassist Robert Wayne Birch dies aged 56

Musician's body was discovered early yesterday morning (August 15) in Los Angeles

Robert Wayne Birch, Elton John's longtime bass player, has died at the age of 56.

Birch's body was discovered yesterday morning (August 15) around the corner from his home in Los Angeles. It is thought he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, although police have yet to confirm this.

According to TMZ, Los Angeles County Assistant Coroner Chief Ed Winter has said that Birch's death is being ''investigated as a possible suicide'', although no suicide note has been discovered as yet.

Birch began playing live with Elton John in 1992 and has contributed bass parts to a large chunk of the singer's recent recorded output, including his acclaimed 1995 album 'Made In England' and 2004's 'Peachtree Road'.

He also played live and recorded with a swathe of artists during his career, including Brian Wilson, Sheryl Crow, Courtney Love, Rufus Wainwright and Stevie Wonder.

Birch is survived by his wife, Michele, and a son, Jonathan.

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