Fans gather for funeral of Prodigy star Keith Flint
The coffin of Prodigy star Keith Flint arrived at his funeral to the sound of heavy metal music, applause and a shout of “live forever”.
The much-loved vocalist was found dead at his home in Essex on March 4 at the age of 49.
Music fans travelled from as far afield as Australia to gather outside the Essex church for his funeral service, with festival flags flying and floral tributes piled up in the churchyard including one of the band’s ant logo.
A first hearse with orange flowers spelling out “Keef” was followed by a second, drawn by four black horses, outside St Mary’s church in Bocking on Friday afternoon.
One of Flint’s dogs was led up the path to the church ahead of his coffin, which was carried by six pallbearers as the song Aerials by metal band System of a Down played as the processional music.
His bandmate Liam Howlett, carrying a white wrestling belt, followed in the group behind.
Flint’s wife Mayumi Kai arrived earlier.
The service was played over loudspeakers to hundreds of fans gathered outside the church, some sporting bright spiky hair like Flint’s and many in band T-shirts.
The service included readings from Prodigy live drummer Leo Crabtree and actor Paul Kaye, and songs Days Like This by Van Morrison, Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, That’s Entertainment by The Jam and A Message To You Rudy by The Specials.
A post on the band’s official Twitter page invited fans to line the procession route and “raise the roof for Keef” ahead of the private funeral service.
Many of them gathered on a green between the church and the village pub before the service, with dance music playing and many sipping cans of beer.
Maria Lelicova, 25, who flew in from Prague for the service said she came as “it’s the last time to have a connection, say goodbye”.
“I never had so strong connection with other bands as with the Prodigy,” she added.
Araks Azarian, 36, came from Australia, arriving on the day of the funeral and returning two days later for work.
The order of service asked for donations to be made to Battersea Dogs Home, Mnid and Cancer Research.
It added that there would be a “private service of committal” after the funeral.
An inquest heard earlier this month that Flint died by hanging.
His bandmate Howlett said in an earlier Instagram post that Flint “took his own life”.
The singer rose to fame in the Brit Award-winning electronic band in the 1990s and was known for hits including Firestarter and Breathe.
They released their latest album No Tourists in November, their seventh consecutive number one record.
He was described in a statement by Howlett and fellow bandmate Maxim as “a true pioneer, innovator and legend”.
They said Flint was their “brother and best friend” and “he will be forever missed”.
He had participated in the 5k Chelmsford Central parkrun on March 2, posting a personal best time of 21.22.
Following his death, The Prodigy cancelled all shows “with immediate effect”.