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Keith Emerson Of Emerson, Lake And Palmer Found Dead From Apparent Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

'He was a pioneer and an innovator whose musical genius touched all of us'

12/03/2016 05:32 GMT | Updated 12/03/2016 05:44 GMT
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Keith Emerson of Emerson Lake and Palmer performs on stage during day two of High Voltage Festival at Victoria Park on July 25, 2010 in London, England

One of the founder members of the progressive rock band Emerson, Lake and Palmer may have killed himself, according to police in California.

Keith Emerson died at his home in Santa Monica on Friday morning from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

The death of the 71-year-old keyboard player is being investigated as a suicide, Sergeant Erika Aklufi of Santa Monica police told reporters.

His long-time girlfriend Mari Kawaguchi discovered Emerson’s body, Aklufi confirmed.

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

Bandmate Carl Palmer said he was "deeply saddened" by the news.

"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," Palmer said in a statement.

"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."

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Photo of Emerson Lake and Palmer from 1970

A statement on the official Emerson, Lake and Palmer Facebook page read: "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."

The group formed in London in the 1970s and released seven albums together before disbanding in 1979. The trio reformed in 1991.