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Prog Rock Pioneer Keith Emerson Suspected Suicide

Prog Rock Pioneer Keith Emerson Suspected Suicide

Keith Emerson, one of the founding members of progressive rock group Emerson, Lake and Palmer, has died in what police are treating as a suspected suicide.

The keyboardist died at the age of 71 at his home in Santa Monica, Los Angeles on Thursday night, the band confirmed.

Sergeant Erika Aklufi said an investigation was looking in whether he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Bandmate Carl Palmer said he is "deeply saddened" and paid tribute to his "brother-in-music".

"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 said in a statement online.

Deep Purple bass player Glenn Hughes said he was in shock, losing "my brother of over 40 years.  This has left me numb."

Rock circles has recently seen the deaths of David Bowie, Lemmy (Motorhead), Jimmy Bain (Rainbow), Stevie Wright (Easybeats), Jon English, Chris Squire (Yes), George Martin (Beatles producer) and now Keith Emerson (ELP).  The past six month has been sad for the close-knit music industry.

"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 humor, compelling showmanship, and dedication to his musical craft," Palmer said.

The group, consisting of keyboardist Emerson, producer Greg Lake, and drummer Carl Palmer, formed in London in the 1970s and released seven albums together.

They parted ways in 1979 before reforming in 1991 and releasing two more albums.

Emerson is best known in popular music for his playing on the band's interpretation of "Fanfare for Common Man" which was used as the theme for theme for the 1974 Montreal Olympics.

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