Soundgarden Singer Chris Cornell Dies At 52
Rocker Chris Cornell, best known as lead singer of Soundgarden and then Audioslave, died Wednesday night in Detroit. He was 52.
In a statement, his rep Brian Bumbery said Cornell’s death was “sudden and unexpected.”
The singer performed with Soundgarden on Wednesday night at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. His body was later reportedly found on the bathroom floor of his suite at the MGM Grand Detroit. Police said early Thursday it appears Cornell may have taken his own life.
Bumbery's statement said the family "would like to thank his fans for their continuous love and loyalty and ask that their privacy be respected at this time."
The singer's last tweet was just after 5 p.m. local time on Wednesday: "#Detroit finally back to Rock City!!!! @soundgarden #nomorebullshit"
According to a setlist posted online, the Detroit show ended with Soundgarden's 1991 track "Slaves & Bulldozers" with a bit of Led Zeppelin’s "In My Time of Dying."
Watch fan-shot footage below:
Other videos, and photos, of Cornell's last live performance have started to appear online.
Born in Seattle, where his first garage band covered bands like Canada's Rush, Cornell rose to fame with Soundgarden, which was formed in the mid-80s. The band's third album Badmotorfinger, in 1991, included hits like "Outshined" and "Rusty Cage."
The album Superunknown earned a Grammy nomination in 1995 for Best Rock Record thanks to hits like "Spoonman" and "Black Hole Sun" – both of which won Grammys.
Soundgarden broke up in 1997 and Cornell worked as a solo artist and with Temple of the Dog before joining Audioslave, which consisted of three former members of Rage Against the Machine. The band recorded three albums before splitting in 2007.
Cornell and his ex-Soundgarden bandmates reunited in 2012 for a new album, King Animal. The group had six shows remaining in its U.S. tour when Cornell died.
The singer was renowned for having a nearly four-octave range. MTV ranked Cornell 12th on its list of the Greatest Voices in Music.
In a 2007 interview, Cornell opened up about beating his addictions.
"Going through rehab, honestly, did help... it got me away from just the daily drudgery of depression and either trying to not drink or do drugs or doing them and you know, they give you such a simple message that any idiot can get and it's just over and over, but the bottom line is really, and this is the part that is scary for everyone, the individual kinda has to want it," he explained.
"Not kinda, you have to want it and to not do that crap anymore or you will never stop and it will just kill you."
He spoke to Rolling Stone in 1994 about writing dark songs.
"In terms of seeing everything as a matter of life and death — if that's what you're feeling at the time, then that's what you're going to write," Cornell said.
"It's sort of a morbid exchange when somebody who is a writer like that dies, and then everyone starts picking through all their lyrics."
Tributes to Cornell are flowing in on social media, where fans and artists alike are expressing grief.
"Shocked and saddened by the sudden death of @chriscornell," tweeted Elton John. "A great singer, songwriter and the loveliest man."
Canadian rocker Sebastian Bach tweeted: "Tears in my eyes ... thanks for your pipes @chriscornell u will b missed."
Jimmy Page wrote of Cornell: "Incredibly Talented. Incredibly Young. Incredibly Missed."
"SO SO stunned to hear about Chris Cornell!," tweeted Dave Navarro. "Such a terrible and sad loss! Thinking of his family tonight! RIP"
DJ ASHBA tweeted: "You will be missed but never forgotten"
"Chris Cornell was one of the benchmark vocalists of our generation," tweeted Mike Portnoy, who called his death a "devastating loss."
Butch Walker called Cornell "One of the greatest voices in rock n roll history."
Cornell leaves behind his wife Vicky Karayiannis and their two children, aged 11 and 12, as well as a 16-year-old daughter from his first wife Susan Silver.