Keith Emerson, the outsized co-founding keyboardist in Emerson Lake and Palmer has committed suicide at 71. Santa Monica Police confirmed to Billboard that Keith Emerson died of a gunshot wound to the head and his death is being investigated as a suicide. He’d reportedly been suffering from depression over a degenerative nerve issue in one hand that had sharply curtailed his ability to play, TMZ said.
Long-time bandmate Carl Palmer said Emerson passed last night (March 10) in Santa Monica, Califorbnia, though he gave no further details on the manner. ELP later confirmed Emerson’s death, as well.
“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,” Palmer said. “He was a pioneer and an innovator whose musical genius touched all of us in the worlds of rock, classical and jazz.”
Emerson Lake and Palmer hadn’t performed together since 2010, when they staged a 40th anniversary reunion at the High Voltage Festival in London. Their most recent studio effort was 1994’s In the Hot Seat. Since, Emerson had regularly collaborated with Marc Bonilla. They released 2008’s Keith Emerson Band featuring Marc Bonilla, 2009’s Boys Club: Live From California (which also featured Glenn Hughes) and 2012’s The Three Fates Project.
Read More at UltimateClassicRock.com.