News of the death of noted bass player Robert Wayne “Bob” Birch, who died Wednesday in Los Angeles, has deeply shaken both Billy Joel and Elton John, with whom Birch performed.
An obituary for Birch on Elton’s website notes that he’d been performing with Elton since 1992, playing 1,441 concerts and on over 50 studio songs. “I am devastated and shocked at the loss of my friend and fellow musician, Bob Birch,” Elton says in a statement. “My heart goes out to Bob’s wife Michele, his son Jonathan and his family.”
He adds, “To me Bob was family…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.””
A note on Billy Joel’s website says that Birch also played with Billy when he and Elton toured together on their Face2Face tours, which continued on and off from 1994 through the 2000s. In a statement, Billy says, “I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Bob Birch. He was a brilliant musician, a true professional and a wonderful man to work with. After 16 years on the road together I considered him to be a good friend. I and all the people in my touring organization will miss him very much.”
In addition to Elton and Billy, during his musical career Birch performed live or recorded with Bryan Adams, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Lionel Richie, David Coverdale, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder, LeAnn Rimes, Leon Russell and more.
There are reports that Birch took his own life, though that has yet to be officially confirmed.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio