Legendary keyboardist Keith Emerson dead at 71

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Keith Emerson, a founding member and keyboardist of English progressive rock supergroup “Emerson, Lake and Palmer,” has died in California of an apparent suicide. He was 71 years old.

“We regret to announce that Keith Emerson died last night at his home in Santa Monica,” the group said in a brief statement on its official Facebook page, providing no details about the cause of death. “We ask that the family’s privacy and grief be respected.”

Sgt. Rudy Camarena, a spokesman for the Santa Monica Police Department, said Emerson was found dead at about 1:45 a.m. PT on Friday when officers were called to the musician’s residence in the area of 400 Marine Street. “When officers arrived, they learned that a subject had expired via a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” he said.

Sgt. Camarena, who said Emerson was found when his live-in girlfriend came home, added that detectives are investigating the death as a potential suicide.

Drummer Carl Palmer, in his own statement, said he was “deeply saddened” to learn of Emerson’s passing. “He was a pioneer and an innovator whose musical genius touched all of us in the worlds of rock, classical and jazz,” he said. “I am very lucky to have known him and to have made the music we did, together.”

Following their performance at the Isle of Wight Festival in August 1970, the supergroup “Emerson, Lake & Palmer” became one of the most popular progressive rock bands in the 1970s. Emerson was also part of other bands such as “The Nice” and in addition also found success in his solo career.

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