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An Ode to the Father of Dance Music: Keith Flint Dead at 49

He changed live music forever.

Keith Flint, frontman for The Prodigy, has died in his Essex, England home at 49.

While authorities have not confirmed an official cause of death, fellow The Prodigy band member, Liam Howlett, wrote on the band's Instagram page: "The news is true, I can't believe I'm saying this but our brother Keith took his own life over the weekend, I'm shell shocked, fuckin angry, confused and heart broken ..... r.i.p brother Liam #theprodigy"

Few can claim to have led a life as authentically punk as Keith Flint. Raised in Essex, Keith Charles Flint was born September 17, 1969, to a troubled family. Dyslexic and poorly behaved, he was kicked out of school at 15. He met Howlett in 1989, while the two were deeply immersed in the UK acid house scene. Howlett ended up giving Flint some of his original music on a mixtape with the word "PRODIGY" scrolled across it, Flint loved his music and was soon traveling with Howlett to hype the crowds before Howlett DJed. By 1996, he was the band's frontman, and they soon released "Firestarter," which rocketed to number 1 in the UK for 3 weeks.

The song's music video, which was initially banned by the BBC for "frightening children," cemented Flint and his brightly colored mohawk as a face of the genre. In 1997, the band released The Fat of the Land, one of the most successful UK dance albums of all time.

The Prodigy - Firestarter (Official Video)

Flint said of the band in 2015, "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." Whatever else he was, Flint was never safe. He once described himself as "a court jester meets asylum escapee," he continued, "I sometimes describe myself as like a hallway in a house: you think you're inside, but there's another door to the real me. I'll sit and wait like a predator and then I will cut you down. I will fucking cut you down to the ground." It was this erratic and sometimes violent energy that made Flint into an icon. His stage presence was electric and occasionally frightening, inviting audiences to either rise to his level and dance or go the fuck home. Nine times out of ten, they screamed and sweated along with Flint, making for some of the most exciting live performances in history.

In an official statement, The Prodigy wrote, "It is with deepest shock and sadness that we can confirm the death of our brother and best friend Keith Flint. A true pioneer, innovator and legend. He will be forever missed."

Brooke Ivey Johnson is a Brooklyn based writer, playwright, and human woman. To read more of her work visit her blog or follow her twitter @BrookeIJohnson.

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