Keith Emerson, the super-influential prog keyboardist/composer of Emerson, Lake and Palmer took his own life last week in a very messy way: a self-inflicted shotgun blast to the head at his home in Santa Monica. He was 71.
What drove him to do it? Early rumours suggested health issues that may have stemmed from a colon problem several years ago. Now, though, his girlfriend is claiming that he was basically trolled to death. The Daily Mirror wrote this:
It appears that for all his rock dinosaur image, he was the victim of a very modern fate — ‘trolled to death’ by heartless fans who had attacked him online over the quality of his recent music, even suggesting he gave up.
In fact, he had been suffering for years from a debilitating muscular condition that affected the fingers in his right hand.
‘He read all the criticism online and was a sensitive soul,’ said his Japanese girlfriend, Mari Kawaguchi, 52.
Although he had been planning to retire after a string of upcoming concerts in Japan, he was ‘tormented with worry’ that he wouldn’t be good enough, she said. ‘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.’
There’s more from The NME:
“His right hand and arm had given him problems for years,” Kawaguchi said. “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. He had concerts coming up in Japan and even though they hired a back-up keyboard player to support him, Keith was worried.
I know you’re not supposed to feed the trolls, but sometimes they can be overwhelmingly cruel.