Update: Santa Monica police have confirmed to Billboard that the death has been ruled a suicide.
Emerson was also apparently suffering from “a degenerative nerve issue in his right hand…[and] could only play the keyboard with 8 fingers at this point and knew it was only going to get worse. As a result, he was struggling with depression.”
The prog rock legend was 71.
Keith Emerson, the keyboardist and founding member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, died last night in Santa Monica, California. He was 71. No cause of death has been reported. The news was shared on Facebook alongside an official statement from his bandmate Carl Palmer who descried Emerson as a “gentle soul” and his “brother-in-music”.
Read the full statement below.
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my good friend and brother-in-music, Keith Emerson. 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.
March 11, 2016”