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Keith Emerson tragedy was no shock to Greg Lake

Greg Lake says the tragic death of Emerson, Lake And Palmer bandmate Keith Emerson was no shock to him.

The keyboard icon died last week as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 71. Today, the Los Angeles County coroner officially confirmed the death as a suicide and also noted Emerson had heart disease and “chronic depression.”

Frontman Lake reports that Emerson had been struggling with depression since at least 1977, and believes the illness claimed his life.

Lake tells the Express: “I have to be honest and say his death didn’t come as a shock to me. The situation with Keith didn’t happen suddenly – it has been developed from as far back as The Works Vol 1 album. At that point I began to see things happening with Keith which didn’t look or feel right.”

He adds: “It’s very difficult to describe what depression is. We all know what it looks like. People’s moods become very black. But it’s more complicated. It changes someone’s personality.

“He lived, in the end, this very lonely existence of someone who was deeply troubled. I saw someone who became increasingly confused, desperate and depressed.”

Emerson’s girlfriend has reported that the musician was “tormented with worry” over a degenerative disease that made it difficult for him to play, and she’s suggested that was the main reason behind his final act.

Lake says: “I’m sure that was a component – but a lot of people are given bad news like that, and you don’t take your life because of it.”

He urges: “If anyone does have feelings of being so desperate that they think it’s better off not to wake up tomorrow, please talk to somebody. The doctor, your friend, anybody.

“Talk to them and tell them what state you’re in. If Keith had taken that path, he might still be here today.”

Help and advice is available worldwide for people struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Meanwhile, ELP drummer Carl Palmer has vowed to keep Emerson’s music alive. He says via Facebook: “I will deeply miss Keith. We have lost a very talented and gifted musician, but this great music will continue for a long, long time.

“I will be looking at putting together a tribute show to Keith, hopefully in June this year. This, I feel, is the very least I can do to honour Keith’s talent and musicianship.”

Rick Wakeman has paid his own tribute to Emerson, saying: “Keith and I always got on great and had tried on numerous occasions to produce an album together, but it never happened because of third parties interfering, which upset us both.

“We did jam together on a couple of occasions and knew we could have produced something quite special – but sadly that was never to be.”

Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess has described Emerson as his “idol,” telling Rolling Stone: “His music meant so much to me. He was a friend and a really nice guy.”