Keith Flint, singer and founder member of British dance band The Prodigy, has died at the age of 49.
The musician – famous for his sneering punk-style vocals, facial piercings and fluorescent spiked hair -- was found dead at his home in Dunmow, Essex on Monday (Mar. 4) police confirmed. In a statement, the band’s surviving members, Liam Howlett, Maxim and Leeroy Thornhill said, "It is with deepest shock and sadness that we can confirm the death of our brother and best friend Keith Flint. A true pioneer, innovator and legend. He will be forever missed. We thank you for respecting the privacy of all concerned at this time.”
A statement on The Prodigy's official Instagram account, attributed to the group's founder and songwriter Howlett, says: “I can’t believe I’m saying this but our brother Keith took his own life over the weekend. I’m shell shocked, fuckin angry, confused and heartbroken ..... r.i.p brother.”
The cause of his death is unknown. A spokesperson for Essex police said they were called to an address in Brook Hill, North End, just after 8 a.m. GMT in response to “concerns for the welfare of a man.”
“We attended and, sadly, a 49-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin have been informed. The death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner,” said the police.
Following news of Flint’s death, fans and friends took to Twitter to pay tribute. The Chemical Brothers' Ed Simons said the singer was “always great fun to be around and very kind to Tom and I when we first started doing shows together...great man.”
Oh gosh, so sad to hear about Keith Flint, he was always great fun to be around and very kind to Tom and I when we first started doing shows together..great man.
— ed simons (@eddychemical) March 4, 2019
British EDM duo Chase and Status said they were absolutely devastated and “wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Keith and the life changing music they made and championed.” London club Fabric called Flint “a true dance music legend.”
Absolutely devastated to hear the tragic news that the legend Keith Flint from @the_prodigy has passed away. Our thoughts & condolences are with all his friends and family. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Keith and the life changing music they made and championed. RIP --
— Chase & Status (@chaseandstatus) March 4, 2019
Suede bassist Mat Osman wrote: "RIP Keith Flint. We played a LOT of festivals with them in the 90s and i always loved the moment when this quiet, chatty guy from backstage stepped out onto the stage and just transformed into this kind of monstrous ringmaster."
And, if you WERE playing a festival with The Prodigy, fuck, you had to bring your A game...
— Mat Osman (@matosman) March 4, 2019
The Prodigy were founded in Braintree, Essex in the early 1990s by DJ and producer Howlett with Flint originally joining the group as a dancer. The band hit No. 3 in the U.K. with their debut single “Charly,” which famously sampled a government children’s safety film. A string of top ten hits followed, as did a chart-topping album (1994’s Music For The Jilted Generation), before “Firestarter,” sung by Flint, gave the band its first U.K. No. 1 in 1996 and established The Prodigy as global stars.
The group's third album, The Fat Of The Land, topped the charts in 21 countries, including the U.S., and has sold over 10 million copies to date. The group’s most recent album, No Tourists, was released last fall and became its seventh U.K. No. 1.
The Prodigy had been due to start their first headline U.S. tour in a decade on May. 3 in Jacksonville, Florida, wrapping May 19 in Chicago. The group recently completed a run of shows in Australia.