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Fans say farewell to Prodigy star Keith Flint

PUBLISHED: 15:26 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:41 29 March 2019

The coffin of Keith Flint is carried into St Mary's Church in Bocking, Essex Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The coffin of Keith Flint is carried into St Mary's Church in Bocking, Essex Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Music fans from around the world have paid tribute to Prodigy star Keith Flint, whose funeral took place today.

Keith Flint's Prodigy bandmate Liam Howlett (centre right) arrives at the funeral Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireKeith Flint's Prodigy bandmate Liam Howlett (centre right) arrives at the funeral Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The band’s official Twitter page had invited them to line the procession route between Braintree and Bocking and “raise the roof for Keef” ahead of the private service at St Mary’s Church in Bocking.

The star’s coffin arrived at the church to the sound of heavy metal music, applause and a shout of “live forever”.

The popular vocalist was found dead at his home near Great Dunmow in Essex on March 4 at the age of 49.

Music fans travelled from as far as Australia to gather outside the church for the service, with festival flags flying and floral tributes piled up in the churchyard including one of the band’s ant logo.

The funeral cortege of Keith Flint arrives at St Mary's Church in Bocking, Essex. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday March 29, 2019. See PA story FUNERAL Flint. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire The funeral cortege of Keith Flint arrives at St Mary's Church in Bocking, Essex. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday March 29, 2019. See PA story FUNERAL Flint. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

A first hearse with orange flowers spelling out “Keef” was followed by a second, drawn by four black horses.

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 had arrived earlier.

Prodigy lead singer Keith Flint Picture: Maurice McDonald/PA WireProdigy lead singer Keith Flint Picture: Maurice McDonald/PA Wire

The service was relayed over loudspeakers to hundreds of fans gathered outside the church, many with bright spiky hair like Flint’s and in band T-shirts.

The service included readings from Prodigy live drummer Leo Crabtree and actor Paul Kaye.

The service included the 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.

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.

Keith Flint's dog, Cyrus, arrives at the late singer's funeral Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireKeith Flint's dog, Cyrus, arrives at the late singer's funeral Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Araks Azarian, 36, flew in from Australia on the morning of the funeral.

She said she made the journey as “I’ve been doing it for years, to see the boys, and this is going to be my last chance to do it.”

She returns to Sydney on Sunday night to get back to work.

Maria Lelicova, aged 25, flew from Prague for the service and became tearful as she said “it’s the last time to have a connection, say goodbye”.

Flowers at the funeral of Keith Flint at St Mary's Church in Bocking, Essex Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireFlowers at the funeral of Keith Flint at St Mary's Church in Bocking, Essex Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

“I never had so strong connection with other bands as with The Prodigy and it’s really something unique and it’s part of my life,” she said.

“I have three Prodigy tattoos, I love Keith Flint since my childhood because when I was really, really baby I was scared of him.

“I always wanted to come here and visit him in his pub and stuff like this and you feel like you have a lot of time for it but now I’m here at the funeral. It’s kind of sad.”

Dennis Kuhne, 40, who flew in from Germany, said he wanted to “say goodbye to Keith”.

Fans from across the world have gathered for the star's funeral Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireFans from across the world have gathered for the star's funeral Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

“I listened to them over 20 years,” he said.

“My first concert I think was in 1995 for the Jilted Generation tour.

“Since that time I follow the guys on almost every tour, festivals and everywhere they played in Germany.

“It’s a pleasure to be here.”

The much-loved vocalist was found dead at his home in Essex on March 4 at the age of 49 Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA WireThe much-loved vocalist was found dead at his home in Essex on March 4 at the age of 49 Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Carpenter Lewis Knowles, 31, travelled from Calne in Wiltshire and said he recognised many faces from the front row of shows around the world.

He said: “They were a big part of growing up, listening to The Prodigy, enjoying it, travelling all round Europe and the world watching them, so it felt right to come here and just try to enjoy the day and see people you bump into at the gigs.”

The Prodigy were a Brit Award-winning electronic band in the 1990s whose hits included Firestarter and Breathe.

Keith Flint was the band’s iconic frontman and vocalist, whose frenzied performances and demonic stage appearance were a huge hit with fans.

They released their latest album No Tourists in November, their seventh consecutive number one record.

An inquest heard earlier this month that the star died by hanging.

Following his death The Prodigy cancelled all shows.

Flint 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”.

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