Robert Wayne Birch, a bassist who recorded and toured extensively with Elton John over the past two decades, was found dead near Los Angeles early this morning of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The L.A. County Assistant Coroner Chief tells Reuters that the death is "being investigated as a possible suicide"; TMZ reports that there was no suicide note or any signs of drugs use.
Birch joined Elton John's touring band in the early 1990s. He played bass on John's 1995 LP Made in England, 1997's Big Picture, 2004's Peachtree Road and 2006's The Captain and the Kid. He also played with B.B. King, Keith Emerson, Corinne Bailey Rae and Steve Archer in recent years. Much of his time was devoted to touring the world with Elton John.
John is currently on a brief break from the road. His tour resumes September 7th in Sarnia, Ontario. A representative from the singer did not respond to a request seeking a comment.