Keith Flint, the iconic singer and founding member of U.K. electronica outfit The Prodigy, has died. The “Firestarter” vocalist, who died of an apparent suicide, was 49.
Billboard has confirmed with U.K. police that Flint was found dead at his home in Dunmow, Essex on Monday. “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,” they told Billboard.
The band’s surviving members—Liam Howlett, Maxim and Leeroy Thornhill—took to Twitter with a statement. “It is with deepest shock and sadness that we can confirm the death of our brother and best friend Keith Flint,” they wrote. “A true pioneer, innovator and legend. He will be forever missed. We thank you for respecting the privacy of all concerned at this time.”
Howlett shared a separate post via the band’s Instagram, saying that Flint had committed suicide. “The news is true,” he wrote. “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 heart broken ….. r.i.p brother.”
The Prodigy was formed by Howlett in Braintree, Essex in the early ‘90s, with Flint originally joining the group as a dancer. They blossomed locally before scoring a global hit with 1996’s “Firestarter,” a song that blazed the trail for big beat and introduced the world to Flint’s iconic devil’s-horn hair and facial piercings. “His creepy mug gave The Prodigy a face when electronica had none,” we wrote in our review of 2004’s Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned.
The following year’s The Fat Of The Land, which featured singles like “Breathe” and the controversial “Smack My Bitch Up,” topped the charts in 21 countries, including the U.S. Since then, the band has released four LPs, the last of which, No Tourists, arrived last fall. They were slated to begin their first U.S. tour in a decade on May 3.
Flint also used to own a pub in Pleshey, Essex. There, as reported by writer Steve Anglesey, the singer charged a quid to anyone who made “the obvious joke” as he was building a fire.
Several of Flint’s colleagues, contemporaries, and friends took to Twitter with their remembrances and memorials. See some below.