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Prodigy's Keith Flint, Firestarter singer, dies aged 49

Prodigy's Keith Flint, Firestarter singer, dies aged 49

British singer Keith Flint of techno group "The Prodigy" performs during the first day of the Isle of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park in Newport on the Isle of Wight June 9, 2006. (Photo: Reuters/Alessia Pierdomenico/File Photo)

LONDON: Keith Flint, the British musician who sang the vocals for The Prodigy's hits such as Firestarter and Breathe, has died aged 49.

Flint took his own life, his bandmate Liam Howlett said on The Prodigy's official Instagram account.

"I can't believe I'm saying this but our brother Keith took his own life over the weekend," Howlett wrote.

Flint became one of the best known faces of 1990s British electronic music, performing apparently random dance moves often with eccentric hair cuts.

"I'm a firestarter, twisted firestarter," he sang in the 1996 hit. "I'm the self inflicted, mind detonator, yeah."

Heavily pierced, tattooed and topped with a bleached mohawk, Flint helped turn The Prodigy into one of the most influential acts to emerge from the underground rave scene.

The band's music videos were dark, cinematic and seemingly aimed to shock.

One was banned by MTV in the United States. Another was only allowed to air on British television after 9pm because of complaints that it scared children.

Police were called to an address in Essex, eastern England, shortly after 8.10am on Monday (Mar 4). 

"We attended and, sadly, a 49-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene," a police spokesman said. "The death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner." 

The Prodigy issued a statement on Twitter calling Flint a "true pioneer, innovator and legend".

"It is with deepest shock and sadness that we can confirm the death of our brother and best friend Keith Flint," the group said.


The Prodigy were formed in 1990 and released two albums before becoming international stars with their 1996 chart-topper "The Fat of the Land". Emerging at around the same time as fellow ravers The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim and Underworld, The Prodigy embodied the "Cool Britannia" feel of the 1990s.

But The Prodigy's sound was always harder, more confrontational and frenetic, with their performances turning into intense sweat sessions that sold out venues for decades around the world.

"There was a real determination for it (the band's sound) to have zero compromise," Flint told AFP in 2015. "There really needed to be an antidote to the DJ scene, which made it quite brutal."

Other dance music pioneers paid tribute to Flint.

"So sad to hear about Keith Flint, he was always great fun to be around and very kind to Tom and I when we first started doing shows together ... great man," Ed Simons of The Chemical Brothers tweeted.

Chase And Status, who were also part of the "big beat" subgenre of UK underground techno and acid house music, said they were "absolutely devastated".

"We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Keith and the life changing music they made and championed," Chase And Status said on Twitter.

The Prodigy released their sixth consecutive UK number one studio album "No Tourists" in November 2018.

"The Fat of the Land" topped the charts in the United States, Australia, Germany and several other EU states.

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