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Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer is dead

Los Angeles: The founder and keyboardist of the progressive-rock band Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Keith Emerson, has died. He was 71.

Police was called by Emerson's longtime partner, Mari Kawaguchi, on Friday to his condominium in Santa Monica, California.

It is learned that Emerson had a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. A probe has been launched by authorities who are investigating Emerson?s death as a possible suicide. Police said that Kawaguchi told them that Emerson could have died anywhere between Thursday evening and Friday morning.

Emerson, drummer Carl Palmer and vocalist/guitarist Greg Lake were top faces of progressive rock in the 1970s as they recorded six platinum-selling albums. They and other hit groups such as Pink Floyd, the Moody Blues and Genesis stepped away from rock's emphasis on short songs with dance beats, instead creating albums with ornate pieces full of complicated rhythms, intricate chords and time signature changes.

The 1973 album of Emerson, Lake and Palmer named "Brain Salad Surgery" included a nearly 30-minute composition called "Karn Evil 9". The album also featured a Moog synthesizer and the eerie, carnival-like lyric: "Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends."

Emerson was born in Todmorden, Yorkshire in England and he was playing in blues and jazz clubs in London when he was a teenager. Emerson played an important role in forming one of the first progressive rock groups, the Nice, before hooking up with Lake and Palmer in 1970 and debuting with them at the Isle of Wight Festival.