Rock star Keith Emerson died on 10 March 2016 in Santa Monica, California, of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. According to his girlfriend, Mari Kawaguchi, he killed himself because he feared he was no longer good enough as a musician. The 71-year-old founder and keyboard player of prog rock giants Emerson, Lake and Palmer was tormented with worry about upcoming concerts in Japan because nerve damage to his right hand had affected his playing.
Kawaguchi found Emerson's body when she returned to their apartment in Santa Monica early on Friday morning. He had shot himself with a gun he kept for protection. "Keith wasn't feeling well on Thursday night", she said. "He had bronchitis so I tucked him up in bed. He was sleeping when I left and I thought he was sleeping when I got back, but then I realised what had happened. He was gone. I am still in total shock."
Former ELP bandmate Carl Palmer said, "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".
On March 12th, former ELP bandmate Greg Lake also released a statement saying, "as sad and tragic as Keith’s death is, I would not want this to be the lasting memory people take away with them. What I will always remember about Keith Emerson was his remarkable talent as a musician and composer and his gift and passion to entertain. Music was his life and despite some of the difficulties he encountered, I am sure that the music he created will live on forever".
Another key figure from the classc rock era has left us. His music will survive him though for decades to come.