UPDATE: Emerson, Lake and Palmer Rock Star, Keith Emerson, Dies at 71

March 11, 2016 Updated: March 15, 2016

Founder and keyboardist of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Keith Emerson, has died at the age of 71. 

The progressive rock star—called “one of the greatest keyboardists of his generation” by “Rolling Stone“—passed away late on March 10, in Santa Monica, California. The influential musician’s death appears sudden, as he was due to tour in Japan throughout April 2016.

On March 15, the Los Angeles Medical Examiner’s Office pronounced Emerson’s death a suicide. According to Billboard, the autopsy reveals Emerson died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and was suffering from heart disease.

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 29:   Musician Keith Emerson (L) and Mari Kawaguchi arrives to Hello Kitty Con 2014 Opening Night Party Co-hosted by Target on October 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Sanrio)
Keith Emerson (left) and Mari Kawaguchi (right) arrive at the Hello Kitty Con 2014 Opening Night Oct. 29, 2014. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Sanrio)

Mari Kawaguchi, Emerson’s long-term partner, spoke with “The Daily Mail” on March 14.

She told the British tabloid that Emerson’s “right hand and arm had given him problems for years. He had an operation a few years ago to take out a bad muscle but the pain and nerve issues in his right hand were getting worse.

He was tormented with worry that he wouldn’t be good enough.
— Mari Kawaguchi

“He was tormented with worry that he wouldn’t be good enough. He was planning to retire after Japan. He didn’t want to let down his fans. He was a perfectionist and the thought he wouldn’t play perfectly made him depressed, nervous and anxious.”

In a Facebook post filled with love, bandmate Carl Palmer referred to the departed as “my good friend and brother-in-music” saying that Emerson “was a pioneer and an innovator whose musical genius touched all of us in the worlds of rock, classical and jazz.” 

I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my good friend and brother-in-music, Keith Emerson. Keith was a gentle…

Posted by Carl Palmer on Friday, March 11, 2016


Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s official Facebook page requests that “the family’s privacy and grief be respected.”

Below you can listen to Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s “landmark” 1973 album, “Brain Salad Surgery.”