Wednesday 28 June 2017

Keith Emerson's girlfriend says 'sensitive soul' killed himself over fear of disappointing fans

Rock star: Keith Emerson Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Rock star: Keith Emerson Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Keith Emerson's girlfriend says the legendary keyboardist killed himself because he feared disappointing his legions of fans.

The 71-year-old, who died by suicide on Friday, had been a member of Emerson, Lake and Palmer since the 1970s.

Recently, however, he had suffered nerve damage which prevented him from performing perfectly.

His girlfriend Mari Kawaguchi has revealed that Emerson was deeply hurt by comments online which had mocked his playing and he feared letting fans down in an upcoming tour of Japan.

Musician Keith Emerson died on March 11 at 71. (Photo by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP, File)
Musician Keith Emerson died on March 11 at 71. (Photo by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP, File)

"He didn't want to let down his fans. He was a perfectionist and the thought he wouldn't play perfectly made him depressed, nervous and anxious," she told the Daily Mail.

"His right hand and arm had given him problems for years. He had an operation a few years ago to take out a bad muscle but the pain and nerve issues in his right hand were getting worse," she added.

"He had concerts coming up in Japan and even though they hired a back-up keyboard player to support him, Keith was worried.

"He read all the criticism online and was a sensitive soul. Last year he played concerts and people posted mean comments such as, 'I wish he would stop playing'."

Greg Lake, Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer at Kennington Oval in 1972 with their awards gained in the Melody Maker Polls
Greg Lake, Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer at Kennington Oval in 1972 with their awards gained in the Melody Maker Polls

Keith's bandmate Carl Palmer said he was "deeply saddened" by Keith's death and paid tribute to his "brother-in-music".

"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 said in a statement online.

"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."

Tributes paid to rock legend Keith Emerson who died aged 71 

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