LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — Keith Emerson, founding member and keyboardist of the progressive rock group Emerson, Lake and Palmer, died at home in Santa Monica, California on March 10. He was 71.
According to police officials, Emerson died from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound and authorities are investigating the death as a suicide.
The band confirmed that Emerson had passed with a post on their official Facebook page, writing: ""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."
In a statement on his personal Facebook page, bandmate Carl Palmer wrote: "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 humor, 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."
Emerson, who grew up in Worthing, West Sussex, was exposed as a child to classical music and took an early interest in the organ, acquiring a Hammond L-100 while still a teenager.
In 1970, after stints in bands including Nice, and the VIPs, He helped to found Emerson, Lake and Palmer with guitarist Greg Lake and drummer Carl Palmer. The group signed with Ahmet Ertegun's Atlantic Records after a stand-out performance at the Isle of Wight festival and released 7 albums on the label, including standouts Tarkus (1971) and Trilogy (1973).
The group disbanded in 1979, though they soon reformed in a slightly different configuration with Cozy Powell on the drums in the place of Carl Palmer.
The group in 1992, releasing several additional albums before parting ways again in the late 1990s, citing conflicts over a new album.
Following the dissolution of the group, Emerson continued to perform and tour, playing with groups ranging from a re-formed Nice to The Best, a short-lived supergroup which featured John Entwistle, Joe Walsh, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and Simon Phillips.
Emerson released a number of solo projects as well, with his final release the 2012 "The Three Fates Project" with Marc Bonilla, Terje Mikkelsen.
Emerson was also involved with scoring for films, providing music for films such as "Nighthawks" which starred Sylvester Stallone and the horror film "Inferno." – Staff Writers