Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and The Nice died Thursday at age 71 of an apparent suicide, on according to Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s official Facebook page.
“We regret to announce that Keith Emerson died last night at his home in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, aged 71,” the post reads. “We ask that the family’s privacy and grief be respected.”
Santa Monica Police later confirmed to Billboard magazine that Emerson died of a gunshot wound to the head and believe his death is a result of a suicide.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) March 12, 2016
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my good friend and brother-in-music, Keith Emerson,” Carl Palmer said on his website. “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.”
— Classic Rock (@ClassicRockMag) March 12, 2016
The British band formed in 1970 and released nine albums over the course of its career. Its self-title debut album hit the top 10 of the Billboard 200 as did the next four albums. The band’s sophomore album, Tarkus, reached No. 1.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer broke up in 1979, but their music continued with Emerson and Lake continuing on with a new drummer as Emerson, Lake & Powell.
The original trio reunited in the early ’90s to release two more albums.