Keith Flint was an English singer and the lead vocalist of the electronic dance act The Prodigy.
He was born on September 17, 1969, in Redbridge, London, England, and died on March 4, 2019, at the age of 49 in North End, Essex, England.
Flint started out as a dancer for The Prodigy and later became the lead vocalist, performing on the group’s two UK number-one singles, Firestarter and Breathe.
He was known for his punk aesthetic of piercings, spiked hair, and intense stare, which made him one of the UK’s most iconic musical figures in the 1990s.
Flint was also the founder of the successful motorcycle racing outfit Team Traction Control, which won multiple Supersport TT titles.
Keith Flint cause of death
As mentioned above, Flint died on March 4, 2019, at his home in North End, Essex, at the age of 49.
The cause of death was hanging, and he had unspecified amounts of cocaine, alcohol and codeine in his system at the time.
The Senior Coroner for Essex, Caroline Beasley-Murray, recorded an open conclusion into his death, adding there was not enough evidence to say he had intended to take his own life.
She also found insufficient evidence to conclude Flint’s death was an accident, where he may have been “larking around and it all went horribly wrong”.
Flint’s family and band manager did not attend the inquest.
The Prodigy’s Twitter account posted a message about mental health and urged people to not “suffer in silence”.
What was Keith Flint’s mental health like before his death?
Flint was no stranger to depression and had entertained suicidal thoughts, according to his bandmate Liam Howlett.
He spoke openly about his mental health and his battles with depression.
In a 2015 interview with FHM, Flint said, “I’ve always had this thing inside me that, when I’m done, I’ll kill myself”.
However, his performances with The Prodigy, where he bounced around the stage with boundless confidence, suggested otherwise.
Suicide cases in England
According to the Office for National Statistics, suicide is a significant national social issue in the United Kingdom, with 5,691 registered deaths by suicide in England and Wales in 2019, equating to an average of 18 suicides per day.
The percentage of suicides caused by hanging, strangulation, and suffocation has increased in recent years, and this method accounted for 58.4% of all suicides in 2021.
Men are at greater risk of suicide than women, and suicide rates vary across the UK, with men accounting for more deaths by suicide than women in each nation.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics state that men represent three-quarters of UK suicides, which has been consistent since the mid-1990s.
In 2019, suicide was the largest cause of death for men aged 20-49 in the UK, but men aged 45-49 had the highest rate of suicide with 25.5 deaths per 100,000 people.
However, rates of suicide for the under 25s have increased in recent years for both males and females, particularly in females.
The rate of suicide in under 25 women has increased by 94% since 2012, a record high for England and Wales.
Researchers and sociologists have identified several causes for the high rate of suicide in the United Kingdom, including recent recessions, unemployment, austerity measures, loneliness and socio-economic status.
Relationship breakdown is another factor as they are often relying on a female partner for emotional support and are more likely to have access to their children restricted.
According to the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health, 73% of people who died by suicide between 2010 and 2020 in the UK were by people who were not in contact with mental health services.
It is important to note that during the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer inquests took place, and there were greater delays in death registrations in many parts of the UK.
This, plus a reported decrease in male suicide at the beginning of the pandemic, contributed to lower suicide rates in 2020.
Many suicide deaths in 2020 were later registered in 2021.
However, rates of suicide in England and Wales in 2021 are overall very similar to those seen before COVID-19.
Keith Flint career
Flint had an unhappy childhood, and his parents split up when he was young, and stopped talking to his father entirely in later life.
He had dyslexia, which led to problems at school, and he left at age 15 after which he went to work as a roofer.
Flint’s life sometimes involved problems with depression and prescription drugs.
In 2009, he told The Times of London that he had once been suicidal.
Flint was the stage persona of The Prodigy, whose 1990s hits Firestarter and Breathe were an incendiary fusion of techno, breakbeat and acid house music.
He was the lead singer of the group for several years and was known for his high-energy onstage antics.
Flint explained his look and onstage antics in a 2009 interview with The Guardian.
After wearing his hair in a mohawk at school, he was “chucked out and sent to a special school,” he said “They had to hypnotize me to settle me down — I just had so much energy”.
Flint was a lover of motorbikes and owned a successful motorcycle racing team; he also ran a pub in Essex for several years.
His kindness and sense of humor have come across in the myriad tributes that have poured forth since his death was announced.