Daniel Knighton/FilmMagicSad details have emerged about the death of Emerson, Lake and Palmer keyboardist Keith Emerson, who, according to Billboard, committed suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Thursday night at his home in Santa Monica, California. Emerson’s girlfriend, Mari Kawaguchi, has given an exclusive interview to U.K. newspaper The Daily Mail and revealed that prior to his death, Keith had been “tormented with worry” about upcoming concerts he’d scheduled in Japan because he was struggling with nerve damage that had affected his ability to perform.

“His right hand and arm had given him problems for years,” Kawaguchi told the paper. “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.”

She added, “He had concerts coming up in Japan and even though they hired a back-up keyboard player to support him, Keith was worried.”

Kawaguchi also claimed that Emerson, who was 71, was upset that some fans had made critical comments about of his recent performances.

“He read all the criticism online and was a sensitive soul,” she maintained. “Last year he played concerts and people posted mean comments such as, ‘I wish he would stop playing.'”

Emerson’s girlfriend also pointed that Keith “was a perfectionist and the thought he wouldn’t play perfectly made him depressed, nervous and anxious.” She told The Daily Mail that he’d planned to retire from performing after the Japan dates.

It was Kawaguchi who found Emerson’s body, at the apartment they shared in Santa Monica. She told The Daily Mail that he’d been ill with bronchitis on Thursday and she “tucked him into bed” that night, and then left their residence.

“He was sleeping when I left and I thought he was sleeping when I got back,” she said, “but then I realized what had happened. He was gone. I am still in total shock.”

The classically trained Emerson is considered one of the most influential and accomplished musicians of the progressive-rock genre. He was known for his pioneering use of the Moog synthesizer, and his dynamic performances and virtuosic playing helped propel ELP to stardom during the 1970s.

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