Keith Emerson, the co-founder of British prog-rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, has died aged 71.
Long-term bandmate Carl Palmer confirmed the news saying Emerson had died at his home in Santa Monica, California.
Police told BBC News the death was being investigated as a suicide. The broadcaster said officers had confirmed earlier US media reports that Emerson had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
A statement on the band’s 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 keyboard player’s body was discovered at his home on Thursday by, it was reported, his girlfriend. He had been scheduled to travel to Japan on tour next week.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer formed in Croydon in 1970 and came to prominence after performing at the Isle of Wight festival later that year.
They rose to become one of the most popular bands of the seventies, and were voted in at number seven on Rolling Stone’s 2011 Reader Poll of the best prog-rock acts of all time.
Emerson was regarded as one of the best keyboard players of his generation. As well as success with the band, he also had a solo career and wrote the score for films such as 1980 horror film Inferno and 1981 Sylvester Stallone thriller Nighthawks.
In a statement, Palmer paid tribute to Emerson who he called his "brother-in-music" saying: "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.
Notable deaths in 2016
Notable deaths in 2016
1/31 Sally Brampton
Brampton was the launch editor of the UK edition of Elle magazine
2/31 Billy Paul
The soul singer Billy Paul, who is best known for his single “Me and Mrs Jones”, has died on 24 April, aged 81
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images
Prince, the legendary musician, has been found dead at his Paisley Park recording studio on 21 April. He was 57
WWE icon Joan Laurer dies aged 45 after being found at California home on 20 April
5/31 Victoria Wood
The five-time Bafta-winning actress and comedian Victoria Wood has died on 20 April at her London home after a short illness with cancer. She was 62
The entertainer and former husband of Liza Minnelli, David Gest has been found dead on 12 April in the Four Seasons hotel in Canary Warf, London. He was 62-years-old
7/31 Denise Robertson
Denise Robertson, an agony aunt on This Morning for over 30 years, has died on 1 April, aged 83
8/31 Zaha Hadid
Dame Zaha Hadid, the prominent architect best known for designs such as the London Olympic Aquatic Centre and the Guangzhou Opera House, has died of a heart attack on 31 March, aged 65
9/31 Ronnie Corbett
British entertainer Ronnie Corbett has passed away on 31 March at the age of 85
2014 Getty Images
10/31 Imre Kertesz
Hungarian writer and Holocaust survivor Imre Kertesz, who won the 2002 Nobel Literature Prize, has died on 31 March, at the age of 86
11/31 Rob Ford
Rob Ford, the former controversial mayor of Toronto, has died following a battle with a rare form of cancer. The 46-year-old passed away at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto on 22 March
12/31 Joey Feek
Joey (left) passed away in March after a two-year cancer illness. She was part of country music duo, Joey + Rory, with her husband Rory (right)
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
13/31 Umberto Eco
Italian writer and philosopher Umberto Eco died 19 February 2016 aged 84
14/31 Harper Lee
Harper Lee, the American novelist known for writing 'To Kill a Mockingbird', died February 19, 2016 aged 89
2005 Getty Images
Vanity, pictured performing in 1983, died aged 57
16/31 Dave Mirra
The BMX legend's body found inside truck with gunshot wound after apparent suicide aged 41
17/31 Harry Harpham
The former miner became Sheffield Labour MP in May after many years as a local councillor. He died after succumbing to cancer, at the age of 61.
18/31 Dale Griffin
The Mott the Hoople drummer died on January 17, aged 67
19/31 Rene Angelil
Celine Dion's husband and manager Rene Angelil has lost his battle with cancer on 14 January, aged 73
2011 Getty Images
20/31 Alan Rickman
Legendary actor Alan Rickman has died on 14 January at the age of 69 after battle with pancreatic cancer. He is largely regarded as one of the most beloved British actors of our generation with roles in Love Actually, Die Hard, Michael Collins, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and an illustrious stage career
2015 Getty Images
21/31 Maurice White
The Earth, Wind & Fire founder died aged 74. The nine-piece band sold more than 90 million albums worldwide and won six Grammy awards
22/31 Lawrence Phillips
Former NFL star found dead in prison cell on 13 January in suspected suicide, aged 40
23/31 Brian Bedford
Tony award-winning actor and voice of Robin Hood has died on 13 January, aged 80
24/31 David Bowie
The legendary singer passed away on 11 January, aged 69, alongside his family, after living with cancer for 18 months
25/31 David Margulies
The veteran actor, most famous for his role in Ghostbusters, has died in New York on 11 January, aged 78
26/31 Michael Galeota
Former Disney child star has been found dead in LA apartment on 10 January, aged 31
27/31 Christy O'Connor Jnr
Irish Golfer who became a Ryder Cup hero after a spectacular final hole in 1989, has died on 6 January, aged 67
2005 Getty Images
28/31 Olwyn Hughes
Literary agent who fiercely guarded the work of her brother, Ted Hughes, and his wife, Sylvia Plath has died on 3 January, aged 87
29/31 Matthew Hobden
The Sussex fast bowler has been found dead by police at Dalvey House in the town of Forres, near Inverness, on 2 January. He may have plunged to his death after falling asleep on the roof of a country house in Scotland. he was 22
30/31 Glenn Frey
Legendary member of The Eagles, Glenn Frey died while recovering from gastrointestinal surgery on January 18, aged 67
31/31 Garry Shandling
The writer, actor and comedian who created The Larry Sanders Show, has died at a hospital in Los Angeles, at 66.
2010 Getty Images
"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."
Anyone struggling to cope can contact The Samaritans for free on 116 123 or at samaritans.org