Prog rock star Keith Emerson dies aged 71

He was a founding member of British superband Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Prog rock star Keith Emerson dies aged 71

FILE PHOTO: 10/12/07. Chris Squire and Keith Emerson arrive for the Led Zeppelin tribute concert to Ahmet Ertegun, at the 02 in Greenwich, London. (Yui Mok/PA Images)

The British prog rock star Keith Emerson has died aged 71.

He is believed to have died some time between Thursday night and Friday morning at his home in Santa Monica, Los Angeles.

Emerson, born in Todmorden, Yorkshire, was the founding member of British superband Emerson, Lake and Palmer - one of the most famous progressive rock bands of the 1970s.

He helped form The Nice in 1967 before starting ELP in 1970 with former King Crimson guitarist Greg Lake and drummer Carl Palmer.

Palmer said in a statement: "I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my good friend and brother-in-music Keith Emerson.

"Keith was a gentle soul whose love for music and passion for his performance as a keyboard player will remain unmatched for many years to come.

"He was a pioneer and an innovator whose musical genius touched all of us in the worlds of rock, classical and jazz.

"I will always remember his warm smile, good sense of humour, compelling showmanship and dedication to his musical craft."

After splitting several times over the decades, ELP reunited for a last tour in 2010, playing their final gig at London's High Voltage Festival to celebrate their 40th anniversary.