Carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that results in pain, numbness or godawful tingling in the arms, wrist and hands has sidelined many a musician. Neil Peart of Rush has battled it along with arthritis for years. Same thing with Phil Collins. And it may have driven ELP’s Keith Emerson to suicide. This is from LA Weekly.
Two years ago, Jill Gambaro received an email from Keith Emerson that now seems tragically prophetic. “Nobody wants to employ a session musician with any disability,” he wrote. “Some musicians have resorted to suicide.”
Last week Emerson himself, a keyboardist best known for his work with the prog-rock group Emerson, Lake and Palmer, committed suicide at his home in Santa Monica. So far there have been no reports that Emerson left a suicide note, so it’s impossible to know what drove him to take his own life. But he had publicly admitted to struggling with nerve damage in his hands — a common result of repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome — and his girlfriend, Mari Kawaguchi, confirmed after his death that “the pain and nerve issues in his right hand were getting worse.” He was suffering from depression and anxiety and, with a tour coming up, his injuries were no doubt adding to his mental anguish.
Is this what drove Keith Emerson to commit suicide? Gambaro believes the answer is yes.