DEAD: Keith Emerson

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

Keith Emerson (aged 71)
British keyboard player and composer (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)

Keith Noel Emerson (2 November 1944 – 11 March 2016) was an English musician and composer. He played keyboards in a number of bands before finding his first commercial success with the Nice in the late 1960s. He became internationally famous for his work with the Nice, which included writing rock arrangements of classical music. After leaving the Nice in 1970, he was a founding member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), one of the early progressive rock supergroups. Emerson, Lake & Palmer were commercially successful through much of the 1970s, becoming one of the best-known progressive rock groups of the era. Emerson wrote and arranged much of ELP’s music on albums such as Tarkus (1971) and Brain Salad Surgery (1973), combining his own original compositions with classical or traditional pieces adapted into a rock format.

DEATH: In September 2010, Emerson released a message stating: “During a routine medical examination, a colonoscopy revealed a rather dangerous polyp in my lower colon. It is the conclusion of the doctors here in London that I must undergo surgery immediately. Unfortunately, the timing of this urgent surgery does not allow me to start touring in early October because of the required period of hospitalization and recuperation. I must remain optimistic that all will turn out well”.

Emerson died on 11 March 2016 in Santa Monica, California, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His body was found at his Santa Monica home. Following an autopsy, the medical examiner ruled Emerson’s death a suicide, and concluded that he had also suffered from heart disease and from depression associated with alcohol. According to Emerson’s girlfriend Mari Kawaguchi, Emerson had become “depressed, nervous and anxious” because nerve damage had hampered his playing, and he was worried that he would perform poorly at upcoming concerts in Japan and disappoint his fans.

Emerson was buried on 1 April 2016 at Lancing and Sompting Cemetery, Lancing, West Sussex.Although his death had been reported by news sources and an official Emerson, Lake and Palmer social media page as having occurred on the night of 10 March, his grave memorial gives his date of death as 11 March 2016.

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