Sir Elton John is struggling to come to terms with the death of his bass player Bob Birch, likening his longterm musician friend to "family".
Birch, 56, was found dead at his home in Los Angeles in the early hours of Wednesday (15Aug12) and officials are investigating the possibility he took his own life after they found what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
The bassist, born Robert Wayne Birch, had played with the British superstar since 1992 - and Sir Elton reveals the pair was so close they felt like family members.
The Rocket Man hitmaker also opens up about his memories of Birch, branding him "one of the greatest musicians" he has ever worked with.
In a post on his website, he writes, "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."