The Prodigy’s Keith Flint remembered as musical innovator and friendly local

Keith Flint has been remembered for both his impact as a musical innovator by colleagues and his friendly demeanour by his neighbours following his death at 49.

The Prodigy star was found dead at his Essex home on Monday morning.

Bandmate Liam Howlett claimed that Flint “took his own life over the weekend” in an Instagram post.

Keith Flint
Liam Howlett’s post on The Prodigy’s Instagram page (The Prodigy/Instagram)

In a separate statement, Howlett and fellow bandmate Maxim described Flint, with whom they had worked since the early 1990s, as “a true pioneer, innovator and legend”.

They said that Flint was their “brother and best friend” and that “he will be forever missed”.

Many music stars have paid tribute to Flint, who rose to fame in the Brit Award-winning electronic band in the 1990s and was known for hits including Firestarter and Breathe.

Electronic music artists Chase And Status and The Chemical Brothers, who are both considered pioneers in the big beat genre along with The Prodigy, were among those sharing tributes for Flint.

Duo Chase and Status, comprised of Saul Milton and Will Kennard, thanked Flint and the group for paving the way for them.

They tweeted: “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Keith and the life changing music they made and championed. RIP.”

Ed Simons of The Chemical Brothers tweeted: “Oh gosh, so sad to hear about Keith Flint, he was always great fun to be around and very kind to Tom (Rowlands) and I when we first started doing shows together.. great man.”

Flint was a tour de force in the British rave music scene in the 1990s, and was known for his bright green spiky hair, facial piercings and energetic, manic stage performances.

But he has also been described as a friendly, animal-lover by those who lived near him.

Jane Addison, who lives nearby to Flint’s home in Dunmow, Essex, and walks her dogs along a track next to the property every day, said his death was a “shock”.

Remembering Flint fondly as a “friendly” animal-lover, she said: “I don’t know how many dogs he had, maybe eight-ish dogs, and he’d go round the fields on his quad, and when he wanted them to come back to him he’d shout ‘eggs and bacon’.”

She added: “He had lots of birds, canaries… in an aviary.”

Keith Flint death
Police activity in North End, Dunmow, Essex, outside the home of Keith Flint, the lead singer of The Prodigy, who has died at the age of 49 (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Ms Addison said she bumped into Flint on her walks, and that he was “friendly, very nice” and that he “always raised a hand and said hello”.

Locals at the pub Flint used to own the lease to, The Leather Bottle in Pleshey, Essex, recalled The Prodigy star’s “larger-than-life character”.

Les Taylor, who moved to the area three years ago with his wife, said he first met Flint in the village pub.

Speaking inside the pub, he said the music star was sociable and “liked to mingle with people”.

Of his first sighting of Flint, Mr Taylor added: “We were sitting here one day and this guy came strolling in and it was Keith.

Keith Flint death
The Leather Bottle pub in the Essex village of Pleshey bought in 2014 by Keith Flint, the lead singer of The Prodigy, who has died at the age of 49 (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“He was only a little fella, about five foot seven, he had a cap covering his hair, I think he had riding boots on, he’d come down on his horse from his house up the next village, and he said ‘Hello everyone, how the f*** are ya?”

“That was the way his character was, very spicy, very friendly.”

He said Flint used to drink an amber ale called Firestarter after one of The Prodigy’s most famous hits, which he said he thought was brewed locally.

He added: “He was a larger-than-life character, he wasn’t up himself at all, very friendly, liked to chat, did a lot to the pub…”

The pub’s landlord, Robert Reilly, said he believed Flint took over the lease from 2014 to 2017, and that he “would have a drink” with locals.

A bouquet of purple flowers were laid by the gate next to Flint’s home, which is located down a rural track and hidden behind wooden gates, on Monday afternoon.

Flint’s Grade II-listed five-bedroom house was listed on property website Rightmove as having had a sale price of £1,900,000 in March 2017.

The website says the property has period features, a cellar, a Victorian Hartley Botanic Greenhouse, an outdoor pool and pool house and an all-weather tennis court, and that it is sprawled over “approximately six acres of land”.

The Prodigy enjoyed hits with Firestarter, Smack My Bitch Up and Breathe among others, and were known for their fusion of techno, breakbeat and acid house, forged in the UK’s illegal rave scene, and their anti-establishment stance.

They released their latest album No Tourists in November, their seventh consecutive number one record.

After the loss of Keith Flint, a legend of our scene, we'd like to send our condolences to his friends, family & fans. We're processing the passing of one of the most important & iconic figures of the scene & we'll be providing an update as soon as we can.

RIP Keith Flint. pic.twitter.com/RyiYtmRcja

— SW4 Festival (@southwest4) March 4, 2019

The Prodigy are scheduled to go on a US tour later this year, and they are also due to perform at London’s South West Four festival in August.

A post from the festival’s official Twitter page said: “We’re processing the passing of one of the most important & iconic figures of the scene & we’ll be providing an update as soon as we can. RIP Keith Flint.”

Essex Police, who were called to Flint’s home on Monday morning, said a 49-year-old man had been found dead and that the death is not being treated as suspicious.