Keith Emerson Died From Gunshot Wound, Police Suspect Suicide

The Emerson, Lake and Palmer founding member was found dead in his Santa Monica, Calif., home at age 71

Keith Emerson died from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, police confirmed on Friday afternoon. He was 71.

“At about 1.15 a.m. [PT], officers were called to his home on the 400 Marine Avenue block of Santa Monica, and his body was found with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” Sgt. Camarena of the Santa Monica Police told TheWrap.

“His death is being investigated as a possible suicide.”

The body of the Emerson, Lake and Palmer founding member and keyboardist was discovered by his live-in girlfriend, who has not yet been named by police.

“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,” a message on the band’s official Facebook page read earlier on Friday.

Emerson’s former bandmate, Carl Palmer, also paid tribute to the keyboard legend on Facebook, saying: “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.”

Born in Todmorden, Yorkshire in England, Emerson learned classical western music as a child, and went on to become one of the greatest keyboardists of his generation.

Emerson, Palmer and producer Greg Lake formed the progressive rock supergroup in 1970, and after a breakout performance at the Isle of Wight festival, the trio signed with Atlantic Records’ Ahmet Ertegun. The band released their landmark album “Brain Salad Surgery” in 1973, and Emerson served as co-writer on its most enduring track, “Karn Evil 9.”

Other notable ELP projects include “Works Volume 1” and “Volume 2,” “Love Beach,” “Black Moon” and “In the Hot Seat” in 1994.

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