Keith Emerson has passed away at the age of 71, his former band mates from progressive rock group Emerson, Lake and Palmer have announced.
“We regret to announce that Keith Emerson died last night at his home in Santa Monica, Los Angeles,aged 71. We ask that the family’s privacy and grief be respected,“ read a statement on the band’s Facebook page.
Keith Emerson was one of the top keyboardists of the prog rock era.
The band co-founder and keyboardist died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Santa Monica police say.
Keith Emerson’s death was being investigated as a suicide, police added.
A police spokesman said Keith Emerson’s body was found in the early hours of March 11 by his girlfriend Mari Kawaguchi at their flat in Santa Monica.
Former band mate Carl Palmer said: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my good friend and brother-in-music, Keith Emerson.
“Keith was a gentle soul whose love for music and passion for his performance as a keyboard player will remain unmatched for many years to come.
“I will always remember his warm smile, good sense of humor, compelling showmanship, and dedication to his musical craft.”
Inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s theatrics with the electric guitar, Keith Emerson was famous for his showmanship and outlandish on-stage performance style.
ELP achieved an international following and were particularly popular in Britain and Japan. Several of the group’s albums, including Tarkus, Trilogy, and Brain Salad Surgery entered the top five on the British chart.
Before ELP, Keith Emerson – who was born in Yorkshire in 1944 – was a member of The Nice, which formed in 1967 but disbanded three years later.
In later life Keith Emerson pursued a solo career and remained active in the music business. He was forced to call off a tour in 2010 due to an abnormal growth in his colon, but had a tour of Japan scheduled for next month.