The Prodigy's Keith Flint dead one month after NZ show

Author
NZ Herald ,
Section
Entertainment,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 5 March 2019, 7:03a.m.
Keith Flint performing in 2009. Photo / Getty Images
Keith Flint performing in 2009. Photo / Getty Images

Keith Flint, the fiery frontman of British dance-electronic band The Prodigy, has been found dead at his home near London, the band said. He was 49.

Prodigy co-founder Liam Howlett said in an Instagram post that Flint had taken his own life over the weekend.

"I'm shell shocked ... confused and heart broken," he wrote.

Flint's final gig was in Auckland on February 5 as part of a tour of New Zealand and Australia. The band was planning to tour America next month.

Police confirmed that the body of a 49-year-old man had been found at a home in Brook Hill, northeast of London. They said the death was being treated as non-suspicious and a file would be sent to the coroner — standard practice in cases of violent or unexplained deaths.

Flint's wife Mayumi - who is herself a DJ - is believed to have been on tour in her home country of Japan at the time of her husband's death.

The Prodigy were also booked to appear at the Glastonbury music festival in June, which they had headlined in 1997 and 2009.

Flint was the stage persona of the band, whose 1990s hits "Firestarter" and "Breathe" were an incendiary fusion of techno, breakbeat and acid house music.

Keith Flint performing in 2009. Photo / Getty Images
Keith Flint performing in 2009. Photo / Getty Images

He was renowned for his manic stage energy and distinctive look: black eyeliner and hair spiked into two horns.

"A true pioneer, innovator and legend," the band said in a statement confirming his death.

"He will be forever missed."

The Prodigy sold 30 million records, helping to take rave music from an insular community of party-goers to an international audience. They had seven No. 1 albums in Britain, most recently with "No Tourists" in 2018.

The band attracted criticism for the 1997 single "Smack My Bitch Up," and the accompanying sex- and drug-fueled video.

The National Organisation for Women accused the song of encouraging violence against women, and it was banned by the BBC.

The band denied misogyny, pointing out that the song's protagonist is revealed in the video to be a woman.

Flint performed in NZ last month

Fans said Keith Flint's final concert with The Prodigy was the best they had ever seen.

The band had playing in Australia and New Zealand last month as part of their No Tourists tour.

After decades of wowing crowds with his energy and vibrancy, Keith Flint played his last live gig with The Prodigy on February 5 in Auckland.

Fans who were at the concert said he was in great form. One wrote on Instagram: "Fourth time I have seen you this was best."

Another added: "Awesome show. Prodigy never fail to deliver the goods."

The band were looking forward to their upcoming tour of South and North America.

After the New Zealand concern, they wrote online: 'Auckland NZ you rocked , The roof was blown the f*** off!, big respect to everybody that came out , see u next time .. Colombia u are next!'

The band's website was down today, replaced by a short message saying Flint had taken his own life.

Anti-establishment stance

Born Keith Charles Flint on Sept. 17, 1969 in east London, he moved to east of the city to Braintree, Essex as a child, where he met Howlett at a nightclub.

The Prodigy was formed in the early 1990s, with Howlett as producer and Flint originally employed as a dancer before becoming singer and the onstage focal point.

The band's rise coincided with soul-searching in Britain over electronic dance music and its related drug culture, and the Prodigy became known as much for its anti-establishment stance as for its songs.

The band members were vocal critics of the U.K.'s Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which banned the raves popularised in the late-1980s during the so-called Second Summer of Love.

Electronic duo the Chemical Brothers tweeted that Flint "as an amazing front man, a true original and he will be missed."

Grime musician Dizzee Rascal said he had opened for The Prodigy in 2009, "and he was one of the nicest people I've met and always was every time I met him, the whole band were.

"When it comes to stage few people can carry a show like him I'm proud to say I've seen it for myself."

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