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Music and motorbikes mark UK funeral of Prodigy frontman Keith Flint

By Rachel Cordery

BRAINTREE, England, March 29 (Reuters) - Dance music played out for the hundreds of fans who flocked to the town of Braintree in eastern England on Friday for the funeral of Keith Flint, former frontman of the Prodigy.

Face painting and free tattoos were on offer to those who had come to pay their respects to the "Firestarter" star.

Flint, a figurehead of the 1990s rave movement, was found dead at his home earlier this month aged 49.

An inquest which opened this month confirmed he had died as the result of hanging. It has been adjourned until July 23 for a full hearing.

Renowned for his facial piercings, heavy makeup and eccentric devil-horned hair cut, Flint played a major role in establishing the credibility of dance and electronic music.

The funeral procession followed a 2-1/2-mile path to St Mary's Church and while the church service itself was reserved for friends and family, Flint's bandmates had invited fans to line the route to "raise the roof for Keef!"

Steve Hales was among those who heeded the call.

With dark makeup and a single strip of green hair reminiscent of Flint’s style, Hales said the amount of support for him was hardly surprising.

“His was music for generations,” he began, before being drowned out by motorbikes roaring up and down the streets.

The horse-drawn hearse was decorated by vibrant orange flowers spelling “Keef” and “Chief”, while his infamous fluorescent green microphone and an elegant arrangement of white and red roses adorned the coffin.

Actor Paul Kaye delivered the eulogy, recalling tales from Flint’s years on the road and his love for motorbikes, animals and jujitsu, to name but a few of his passions.

"You liked to live your life on the razor's edge for the buzz," Kaye said on behalf of bandmate Liam Howlett. "You were an anti-star, a pirate and committed to our cause of shaking people's souls and buildings."

Fans have launched a petition to have a statue of the late singer erected in Braintree. According to the petition, which has amassed almost 9,000 signatures, residents of the town want "to pay homage and honour its most famous son."

Born in northeast London, Flint moved there in the mid-70s with his parents and in 1990 co-founded The Prodigy with Howlett and Leeroy Thornhill.

The group had been due to tour the United States in May and released their latest album "No Tourists" in November.

(Editing by Stephen Addison)