Singer William Guest, an original member of Gladys Knight and The Pips, died of congestive heart failure on Christmas Eve, his sister-in-law Dhyana Ziegler confirmed with The Associated Press.
He was 74.
Guest was a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted group for more than 30 years, from 1953 to 1989, and was a voice behind their classic hits “Heard it From the Grapevine,” “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye),” and “Love Overboard,” US Weekly noted. The Pips were one of the most hailed Motown R&B groups in their day, winning numerous Grammy’s and accolades for the 20 plus albums they created together over their career.
After Guest, who was also Knight’s cousin, left the group, he later formed a production company with former bandmate Eddie Patten called Patten and Guest Productions. In 2013, Guest released his autobiography Midnight Train From Georgia: A Pips Journey, where he wrote that entertaining was in his family’s blood.
“That was our life. We talk[ed], laugh[ed, [sang] and dance[d]. As the saying goes, ‘the family that plays together, stays together.’”
In a statement, his daughter Monique Guest said that her father will be greatly missed.
“My heart is broken, but I know his legacy will live on,” she said.
Gladys Knight herself has yet to make a formal statement on the passing of Guest.