Keith Flint’s ex-girlfriend Gail Porter broke her silence on Monday following The Prodigy frontman’s shock death aged 49 from a reported suicide.
Gail, 47, dated the Firestarter hitmaker from 1999 to 2000 and simply tweeted the word, ‘heartbroken,’ after learning the sad news.
The couple, who were introduced by radio DJ Sara Cox, were dubbed ‘Beauty and the Beast’ due to Keith’s wild hair and scary music videos.
Shock: Keith Flint’s ‘heartbroken’ ex-girlfriend Gail Porter has broken her silence on Monday following The Prodigy frontman’s shock death aged 49 from ‘suicide’ (pictured in 1999)
In fact, The Prodigy’s Firestarter music video was deemed so scary, when it was released in 1997, that many TV channels wouldn’t show it until after the watershed.
Gail was very much regarded as a wholesome television presenter compared to Keith’s raver image and people were shocked when they started dating.
She later insisted Keith was very different from his public image, describing him as ‘lovely and gentle’ but admitted her mother was speechless when she met him.
Gail previously hinted that it was she who preferred wild nights out, whereas Keith loved nights in.
Back in 2008, she said: ‘He was lovely and gentle and oh I still am so fond of him.’
Missed: Gail previously insisted Keith was very different from his public image, describing him as ‘lovely and gentle’ but admitted her mother was speechless when she met him
The Scottish presenter went onto marry Toploader guitarist Dan Hipgrave in August 2001 and gave birth to their daughter Honey on 3 September 2002.
Whereas Keith married singer Mayumi Kai in 2006 in front of pals, the late David Gest and Busted’s Matt Willis.
Many celebrities across the music and entertainment industry have paid tribute to The Prodigy star.
Fans and friends took to social media to react to the news – among them Keith’s bandmate Liam Howlett who posted: ‘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 , f***** angry, confused and heart broken….. r.i.p brother.’
Leading the tributes were the likes of Professor Green, Jo Whiley, Rita Ora, Example, Plan B, Matt Willis, Beverley Knight and Jodie Marsh – many of whom knew him personally.
Leading the tributes: The likes of Professor Green and Rita Ora have posted words of sadness to social media
In a series of Instagram posts, Professor Green wrote: ‘I remember sitting in a flat in Stamford Hill playing your music as a young teen going through some of the most pivotal points in my life. Songs are nothing if not moments in time…
‘I met you in 2009 in Miami in the reception of a hotel with @skreamizm @plastician and a bag of other people, before seeing you tear up the stage.
‘Later in 2009 I saw you at Brixton Academy which for me, was the best gig I’d ever seen, and still is till this day. I said to myself that day I wanted to sell it out, and as you did, have the crowd up in arms from the front row all the way to the back of the upper circle.
‘Later that year I signed to Virgin and began my journey towards doing so. We crossed paths a few times and you always said hello, even when you didn’t have a scooby who I was.
Moving: In a series of Instagram posts, Professor Green wrote a heartfelt message to his idol
‘Your music, your presence, your attitude. It all had such an influence on me. Saddened doesn’t even cut it, and that’s just from me as a fan. We as fans lost a hero today, but my heart goes out to those who’ve lost a member of their family, who’ve lost a friend. RIP Keith Flint.’
Rita Ora simply posted a colourful snap of Flint along with the words: ‘RIP Keith Flint.’
Jodie Marsh took to Instagram to upload a shot of the iconic performer, revealing that they were friends who bonded over their fondness of animals.
She wrote: ‘Just heard the awful news that Keith Flint has died. He was such a lovely man and a massive animal lover. We used to speak at length about our love of dogs. I’m gutted and in shock! The Prodigy were also such a huge part of my childhood. So upset x’
Matt Willis posted a screenshot from his phone, listening to the track Firestarter, along with the caption: ‘Hero!!! Devastating news. So very sad!’
Actress Kathy Burke tweeted: ‘He did what all music stars are meant to do; he frightened your mums and dads. RIP Keith Flint.’
‘So very sad’: Rita simply posted a colourful snap of Flint along with the words, ‘RIP Keith Flint’, while Matt Willis of Busted posted a screenshot from his phone, listening to the track Firestarter, along with the caption, ‘Hero!!! Devastating news!’
Friends: Jodie Marsh took to Instagram to upload a shot of the iconic performer, revealing that they were friends who bonded over their fondness of animals
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 and I when we first started doing shows together.. great man.’
Radio broadcaster Jo Whiley tweeted: ‘Oh this is sad news. The death of Keith Flint. Whenever our paths crossed he was an absolute sweetheart. Really lovely. Incredible iconic frontman with a soft centre. #RIPKeithFlint.’
Electronic music duo Chase and Status said: ‘Absolutely devastated to hear the tragic news that the legend Keith Flint from @the-prodigy has passed away.
‘Our thoughts & condolences are with all his friends and family. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Keith and the life changing music they made and championed. RIP.’
Flooding in: A number of stars from the world of music have paid tribute to Flint online, calling him ‘iconic, legendary and innovative’
Radio DJ Nick Grimshaw wrote: ‘A life changing moment when I went to my first ever gig to see The Prodigy so it’s sad to hear of Keith’s death today.
‘Such a big part of my formative teenage years, posters on my wall, learning the lyrics on the bus home from school and torturing my parents with Fat Of The Land. They don’t make em like that anymore.’
His Radio 1 colleague Annie Mac posted: ‘This is such awful news. My heart goes out to The Prodigy and to Keith’s loved ones. Uk music has lost a hero.’
Songstress Beverley Knight wrote: ‘I just heard, and I am heartbroken. Once the most innovative, fearless, ballsy bands to grace a stage and Keith was perfection up front. We have lost a Titan!’
Presenter Vernon Kay typed: ‘Noooooooooooooo!!!! In total shock…Kieth Flint. The prodigy defined a generation and he was at the forefront with LiamH!! #RIPKeithFlint’
‘Deepest sadness’: The band themselves took to Instagram on Monday to share their devastation
Plans: Flint, who was 49, was pictured with fans last month during a tour of Australia. His band planned to tour the US next month
Flint’s bandmates said in a statement on Twitter: ‘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. We thank you for respecting the privacy of all concerned at this time.’
Keith was discovered unconscious at his property near Dunmow, Essex at around 8AM on Monday morning, after police were called over what they described as ‘concerns for his welfare’.
Paramedics attempted to resuscitate him but he was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have said they are not treating the death as suspicious.
Flint became one of the faces of 1990s rave when his energetic dance style and punk haircuts made him one of the chart’s most recognisable characters. His band were best known for their fast-paced songs including Firestarter, Breathe and Smack My B**** Up.
Neighbours at Flint’s rural home in Essex told of their shock at the news, saying they often saw him riding his horse about the village, running or cycling.
Mystery: Police have not yet confirmed how the star, pictured (left) in 2011 and (right) in 2015, died. But they say the death is not being treated as suspicious
Bandmates: Flint (left), with Maxim and Liam Howlett at The Kerrang Awards in 2006
Icon: Flint’s outlandish style had mellowed in recent years. He is pictured, left, with wife Mayumi Kai in 2009, and right, in 2001
Jane Addison, who lives nearby and walks her dogs along a track next to the property every day, remembered 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”… He had lots of birds, canaries… in an aviary.’
One local resident said: ‘I saw the air ambulance this morning and the police were round this morning – I’m just in shock.
‘He seemed alright, he just got back from his tour and goes out running everyday with his personal trainer. He is very fit.’
Home: Flint was found dead at his mansion (pictured) in the Essex countryside
Attracting attention: Dogs could be heard barking outside the address this morning and police could be seen coming and going from the house
Another added: ‘He always put his hand up, always said hello, was always very pleasant. He was lovely, I met him a couple of times at drink dos, he was always very friendly and polite.
‘He was always very well spoken to members of the community. He liked to ride and loved his dogs, the image you might think of him with rings in his nose was wrong, he was really nice.’
Singer fined drinkers at his country pub for Firestarter jokes
Keith Flint was known for his sense of humour among villagers in Essex after he moved to the country a decade ago.
The singer bought the Leather Bottle pub in Pleshey, Essex in 2014.
Local journalist Steve Anglesey told today how he would keep a money box above the fire place and charge drinkers if they made a joke about his famous Firestarter hit.
Mr Anglesey tweeted: ‘Whenever he put the logs and kindling in and someone piped up with the obvious joke, he’d point to it and charge them a quid.’
An Essex Police spokesperson said: ‘We were called to concerns for the welfare of a man at an address in Brook Hill, North End, just after 8.10am on Monday
‘We attended and, sadly, a 49-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin have been informed. The death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner.’
The local ambulance service said they also attended Flint’s house after he was found unconscious, but paramedics were unable to save him.
An East of England Ambulance spokeswoman said: ‘We were called at 8.08am with reports of a man who was unconscious in Brook Hill, Dunmow.
‘We sent an ambulance officer, Essex and Herts Air Ambulance and one ambulance. Sadly a man in his forties died at the scene.’
The Prodigy had recently returned to the UK from a tour of Australia and were planning to head out to South and North America for a series of concerts next month.
They planned to tour a number of festivals in Europe this summer before playing at Clapham’s South West Four event in August.
In an interview in November, bandmate Liam Howlett insisted they were not a ‘retro band’ and strived to give their newest music a freshness.
He said: ‘We’re not a band that are embarrassed of our roots. We own that sound, we created it. We’re not interested in reinventing ourselves, because we’re happy with ourselves – we don’t need to.’
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