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Emerson, Lake & Palmer Keyboardist Keith Emerson Dies at 71 [Updated]

Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images
Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images

Update 5:30PM ET: TMZ is reporting that Keith Emerson’s death is the result of a single gunshot to the head and being investigated as a suicide. He was apparently found in his Santa Monica home by his girlfriend. The website also reports that Emerson may have been suffering from depression while battling degenerative nerve tissue that was hampering his ability to play keyboards.

The rock world has lost another legend as Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake & Palmer has died at age 71.

Keith Emerson founded Emerson, Lake & Palmer with Greg Lake and Carl Palmer in 1970. Emerson played keyboards for the progressive rock group on and off over a span of 40 years, playing a one-off reunion concert in 2010 after disbanding in 1998. The group attained 10 gold albums in the U.S. for eight studio releases and two live records.

The death of Keith Emerson was revealed by the Emerson, Lake & Palmer Facebook page:

Keith Emerson (1944 – 2016)We regret to announce that Keith Emerson died last night at his home in Santa Monica, Los…

Posted by Emerson, Lake & Palmer on Friday, March 11, 2016

Carl Palmer has offered a tribute to his late bandmate:

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. He was a pioneer and an innovator whose musical genius touched all of us in the worlds of rock, classical and jazz.
I will always remember his warm smile, good sense of humour, compelling showmanship, and dedication to his musical craft.

I am very lucky to have known him and to have made the music we did, together. Rest in peace, Keith.

We’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of Keith Emerson during this difficult time. Emerson is one of several prominent classic rockers who have died in the past few months, including Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie and the Eagles’ Glenn Frey, among others. In fact, Emerson wrote a tribute to Lemmy right after the Motorhead frontman’s death.

Update: Former Dream Theater and current Winery Dogs drummer Mike Portnoy has called Emerson’s death a “devastating loss for the prog community.”

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