Keith Flint dead – The Prodigy legend famed for Firestarter and wild haircut dies aged 49. The iconic singer, from Dunmow, Essex, was found dead at his home.
Police remain at the property this morning. His death is not being treated as suspicious.
An Essex Police spokesman said: “We were called to concerns for the welfare of a man at just after 8.10am 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.”
An East of England Ambulance spokeswoman said: “We were called at 8.08am with reports of a man who was unconscious in Brook Hill, Dunmow.
“We sent an ambulance officer, Essex and Herts Air Ambulance and one ambulance. Sadly a man in his forties died at the scene.”
FROM UNDERGROUND SCENE TO MUSIC ICON
The Prodigy emerged from the underground rave scene of the early 1990s to become one of the UK’s biggest bands.
They reached Number 1 in the UK singles charts with ‘Firestarter’ and ‘Breathe’ in 1996 and notched up six Number 1 albums.
Flint became an iconic figure in the British music scene with his energetic live performances and distinctive hair and tattoos.
Born in Redbridge, East London, he moved to Braintree, Essex, as a child and met The Prodigy co-founder Liam Howlett at a nightclub in the town.
Flint was originally a dancer for the group but featured as a vocalist on Firestarter, which was them propelled into the mainstream.
With his punk aesthetic of piercings, spiked hair and intense stare, Flint became one of the UK’s most iconic musical figures in the 1990s. He joined the Prodigy as a dancer, later becoming a frontman alongside rapper Maxim. Aside from their 1992 debut, all of the group’s seven albums have reached No 1 in the UK, the most recent being No Tourists, released in November 2018.
Flint performed the vocals on the Prodigy’s best known singles, Firestarter and Breathe, which both went to No 1 in 1996. Firestarter became their biggest US hit and the group are often credited with helping to break dance music into the mainstream in the country.
Firestarter’s black and white video, featuring a headbanging, gurning Flint, was banned by the BBC after it was screened on Top of the Pops, with parents complaining that it frightened children. The self-lacerating lyrics – “I’m the bitch you hated/filth infatuated” – were the first Flint had written for the band. “The lyrics were about being onstage: this is what I am. Some of it is a bit deeper than it seems,” Flint told Q magazine in 2008. The track sold more than 600,000 copies in the UK.
Flint lamented the state of modern pop music. “We were dangerous and exciting! But now no one’s there who wants to be dangerous. And that’s why people are getting force-fed commercial, generic records that are just safe, safe, safe.”
His success was hard won. Having grown up with dyslexia, he dropped out of school aged 15 and worked as a roofer in Essex before joining the Prodigy. He later weathered an addiction to prescription painkillers but became sober and married Japanese DJ Mayumi Kai in 2006. The couple later separated.
As well as his success with the Prodigy, Flint founded the successful motorcycle racing outfit Team Traction Control, which made its debut in 2014 and went on to win multiple Supersport TT titles.
The Prodigy played some of the biggest stages in the UK, including the 1996 Knebworth concerts headlined by Oasis and, in 1997 became the first dance group to headline Glastonbury. Festival organiser Emily Eavis paid tribute, calling their set “a huge, unforgettable moment”.
Eavis added: “He’s played here so many times with the Prodigy and was booked for 2019. What an incredible frontman.”
Gail Porter, who dated Flint between 1999 and 2000, simply wrote the word “heartbroken” on Twitter.
Further tributes have been made from his musical peers. Ed Simons of the dance duo the Chemical Brothers shared a memory of Flint on Instagram.
A post from the Chemical Brothers’ official Twitter account said Flint “was an amazing front man, a true original and he will be missed”.
Richard Russell, the head of the XL Recordings label that first signed the group, said on Twitter: “Devastated keith flint is gone. not just a great performer. he had total integrity & an incredible sense of humour. one of the sweetest people I’ve ever worked with. what a beautiful energy. what a gentleman. privileged to have known him. miss u keith.”
The Prodigy: ‘we should be as important as Oasis or Blur’
Sleaford Mods, whose frontman Jason Williamson collaborated with the Prodigy on the 2015 track Ibiza, tweeted: “Very sorry to hear of the passing of Keith Flint. Good night mate. Take it easy.” Another collaborator, the band Kasabian, described him as a “beautiful man” and “incredible pioneer”.
The rapper Professor Green said the Prodigy at the Brixton Academy in 2009 was “the best gig I’d ever seen, and still is till this day” and had inspired him to be a music star. He added: “Your music, your presence, your attitude. It all had such an influence on me. Saddened doesn’t even cut it.”