Tragic Keith Flint ‘begged his estranged wife to return home before hanging himself’ at their £1.5million country home – as pictures show him in pub with friend just hours before his death
- Flint phoned DJ Mayumi Kai, from whom he split last year, before his death
- He was ‘found by an employee’ having ‘hanged himself’ at his home on Monday
- Singer looked ‘positive and proud’ in pub just hours before his apparent suicide
- Flint, 49, had just run a personal-best 5k time and ‘seemed really happy’
- He joked with diners at the Galvin Green Man in Chelmsford on Saturday
- But at 8am on Monday morning police found him unresponsive at his home
Keith Flint called his estranged wife and pleaded for a reconciliation in the days before he apparently took his own life, it has emerged.
The Prodigy front man is even understood to have delayed the sale of the couple’s £1.5m country pile in Essex in hopes of winning back Japanese DJ Mayumi Kai, from whom he split last year.
‘Keith always hoped they could make it work and he made various phone calls to her, pleading with her’ said a source quoted in the Sun, which reported the Firestarter star was found by an employee, hanged in his Essex mansion on Monday morning.
The source went on: ‘But she didn’t change her mind and insisted they sell the house. It broke Keith.
‘Mayumi isn’t to blame but it seems that Keith didn’t think he could carry on without her.’
The 15th century farmhouse was listed for sale just days ago.
It comes as exclusive photos reveal that Keith was ‘happy’ about running a personal best time during a last supper at his local on Saturday just hours before he took his own life.
The singer and dancer was seen casually dressed and joking with other diners as he bought lunch for his personal trainer. He even asked his trainer’s permission to take a few bottles of beer and cider home with him afterwards.
He was sat next to an unlit fire, prompting the photographer to initially joke about whether he was going to be a Firestarter again as he sang in his 1990s hit which made Prodigy a household name.
Keith Flint (left) seemed happy on Saturday lunchtime, proudly discussing that morning’s personal-best 5k run with his personal trainer (right) and how it felt good to open his lungs up.
The fellow diner at the Galvin Green Man in Chelmsford, Essex, told Mail Online: ‘My wife and I were dining on an opposite table when my baby son threw a fork on the floor, which Keith picked up and said hello, cracking a joke with my wife about it.
‘He seemed really happy, talking to his trainer about how he’d achieved a personal best running and how it made him feel much better, opening his lungs up.
‘He seemed really positive and proud about his self-improvement and about how healthy he felt. There was no one else in the pub for him to be putting on an act for. So I was surprised and gutted as a fan of his work when I heard that he’d taken his own life so soon afterwards.
‘He was dressed casually, with flashes of dyed blonde hair escaping out the back of a tweed flat cap, wearing a green combat jacket and trousers over an orange T-shirt and trainers, and he was buying lunch for his personal trainer. He also chatted with another female regular there who was dining with her daughter.
The ‘Firestarter’ star was seated comfortably by the pub’s log fire, prompting jokes with locals on Saturday – but less than 36 hours later police found him unresponsive at his home. Band mates said he had taken his own life
‘He was sat by the fire, so when I forwarded the picture to friends I asked if he was going to be a Firestarter again.’
The Prodigy star was known for getting his hair dyed for gigs in his own former pub, where he was ‘generous to a fault’, even paying for strangers’ meals there, but he ‘had his demons’, his former barmaid told Mail Online.
Di Bennett worked for him at the Leather Bottle pub near Chelmsford, Essex, which he ran for a couple of years until he quit two years ago, putting his own money into the venture and ‘really making something of the place’, before he quit in 2017.
She spoke out after his estranged Japanese DJ and model wife Mayumi Kai called the singer and dancer, 49, a ‘true pioneer and legend’ after he ‘took his own life’ following a spiral into depression after their split.
His former barmaid Di told Mail Online: ‘He was the life and soul of the place. His hairdresser would dye his hair there for gigs. That used to crack the regulars up. Or he’d ride one of his horses, his favourite was called Blackie, down to the pub for a drink.
‘When he wanted to, he certainly knew how to party. But when he was scheduled to go on tour he’d give up all the drinking and go running and working out with his personal trainer. He was very disciplined when he needed to be.
‘He was generous to a fault, once signing a famous photo of him in the Firestarter video for about 40 fans from all over the world who turned up there once, auctioning it off for charity. He raised £500. He’d let his staff eat there for massive discounts or for free. And sometimes he’d just say about customers dining, ‘I’m getting their bill’. He’d do parties with the locals, with marquees out the back. But he’d only perform one number himself. He liked to keep his pub and his music lives separate.
Keith Flint at Maxidrom Music Festival in Moscow in 2011. The Prodigy front man was loved by music fans for his ability to electrify a crowd
His former barmaid revealed that before a tour Keith would ‘give up all the drinking and go running and work out with his personal trainer’. Pictured at the Sziget Festival, Budapest, 2014
A neighybour revealed: ‘Privately he wasn’t at all like his stage persona. He was a really quiet and humble guy who always asked after you.’ Pictured in London in December 2017
‘If he knew you he’d always have a chat with you. He’d always speak to fans and would pose if they asked for his photo.
‘He was a total gent with everyone. I never saw him turn. But I knew he had his demons. He had depression. I think he had a tough time growing up and he was disowned by his dad. But he was such a private person he never discussed that with anyone but his really close inner circle.
‘There are a lot of people who are really shocked about his death. No one has a bad word to say about him. He’ll be missed terribly around here.’
Keith spent his last weekend running a personal best in a Cheltenham 5k run on Saturday, before drinking at his local, the Galvin Green Man (where he was such a regular eating and drinking alone, with friends or his dogs a couple of times a week that he became close friends with the staff). On Sunday locals saw him drinking at The Compasses, also in Chelmsford.
Another local said: ‘He was always so friendly and down to earth. We started talking when he said he’d heard about me working down the fish market once. He sat outside drinking with me and the wife all day like we were old pals. That’s the type of guy he was.
Keith pictured at school, at in concert in Finland at the height of his fame. Saddened neighbours have described him as a ‘quiet, friendly, down-to-earth guy’
‘But you never know what someone’s got going on inside. It’s tragic.’
A neighbour told Mail Online: ‘His wife moved out around the end of last year. We saw the removal van there collecting her stuff.
‘It was sad because I remember their low-key wedding at Black Chapel in North End village, near Chelmsford, in around 2006 where 50-100 guests, all just friends and family crammed into our tiny church for the service where someone they knew was the registrar, before they all walked back from the service to his house, with all the neighbours congratulating them on the way.
‘I remember him telling me once how ‘exhausting’ it was putting so much into his physical stage performance. He told me, ‘oh yeah, it really takes it out of me now’. I can’t imagine the band will be able to carry on without his physical presence drawing in the crowd like he did.
Keith (centre in orange bandana) finished the Chelmsford Parkrun 5k in an impressive personal best of 22m21s before joining his trainer for lunch to share his pride in his achievement
The tattooed singer ‘knew how to party’ at home in Essex but would stop drinking and train seriously in advance of going on tour
‘He seemed like a restless soul who was always into one thing or another, I’d see him running past here with his personal trainer, or riding on horses that he owned and he had a track at his property where he rode bikes too. He only ran the pub for a couple of years. He’d drink at the local pub after that, The Butcher’s Arms.
‘He loved his dogs, he had six, I think certainly at least one of them was a German Shepherd. He loved wildlife, excitedly telling my husband recently that he’d just seen a barn owl. Privately he wasn’t at all like his stage persona. He was a really quiet and humble guy who always asked after you.
‘He was a local lad, who went to school here and had an Essex accent. He loved the area, he helped build his own house, along with his bandmate Liam who was also working on the barn next door that he’d owned for the first few years that Keith was here, and he enjoyed the privacy that he had living here.
‘You probably won’t be surprised to hear that he loved fireworks and he threw a massive fireworks party when he first moved in that we were all invited to.
‘And in fact I remember him fighting plans to renovate a neighbouring house a few years ago which he thought might give it a window into his property, that’s how fiercely he protected it. But the development went ahead and it doesn’t look into his property at all.’
Another neighbour added: ‘I got to know him out walking our dogs. He was such a lovely man. It’s so sad.
‘He was also so close to Liam. They were neighbours here for a while. But it was Keith who we all got to know locally. Liam would just wave rather than stop and chat like Keith. I cannot imagine how devastated Liam must be.’
Keith Flint put his 15th century mansion up for sale just days before his death
Despite his wild on-stage persona Keith had come to enjoy the country life, neighbours said, bird-watching, horse-riding and sharing his home (above) with his six dogs
Police and paramedics found Keith – who found fame in the 1990s with the Prodigy after his energetic performances and outlandish hairstyles – unconscious inside his Essex farmhouse yesterday morning after they were called out amid ‘concerns for his welfare’. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
He had previously revealed that he planned to take his own life when he was ‘done’ but said he saw it as a ‘positive thing’. His band mates later announced that he had ended his own life.
The singer bought the country home and the surrounding estate in 1997 and his wife was given home rights last year.
Flint credited his wife with helping him get off drugs, and the separation may have prompted him to start taking again, The Sun reported. She is believed to be in Japan, having played gigs in Tokyo since the New Year.
Keith credited his DJ wife Mayumi Kai, pictured right, with saving him from a life of ‘drugs and sh***ing around’ but yesterday it was reported the pair had recently split
Bandmate 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 , f***** angry, confused and heart broken….. r.i.p brother.’
Flint became the face 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.
The Prodigy released their latest album No Tourists in November, their seventh consecutive number one record.
They 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.
Glastonbury’s co-founder Emily Eavis has confirmed The Prodigy were booked to perform at this summer’s festival.
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