Horribly sad news came through on Thursday morning, that Soundgarden/Audioslave vocalist/guitarist Chris Cornell has died at the age of 52. His death came after Soundgarden finished a concert at the Fox Theatre in Detroit.
According to the New York Times, Cornell’s representative Brian Bumbery reported that Cornell passed away Wednesday night and his passing was “sudden and unexpected.” Initial suspicions imply suicide:
Dontae Freeman, a spokesman for the Detroit Police Department, said in an interview that at about midnight officers responded at the MGM Grand casino to an apparent suicide of a white man, born July 20, 1964, who was pronounced dead on the scene. He would not confirm the victim’s name; Mr. Cornell’s date of birth is July 20, 1964. Mr. Freeman said that the victim’s wife called a family friend to check on the victim; the family friend forced his way into the room and found the individual unresponsive on the bathroom floor.
The victim was found with a band around his neck, Mr. Freeman said. He said that the police were not confirming that the victim died of a suicide, though the preliminary determination was an “apparent suicide.” He said that more details would be released in a statement later Thursday.
That suspicion of suicide was confirmed by the medical examiner:
BREAKING: Medical examiner determines Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell committed suicide by hanging in Detroit.
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 18, 2017
The final song Cornell and Soundgarden performed on Wednesday night was “Slaves and Bulldozers” (with parts of Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying” added in) — watch fan-shot video of what is now Cornell’s final performance below.
After forming in the 1980s, Soundgarden hit it big with several classics of the grunge/alt-rock genre, including “Black Hole Sun”:
Here’s a performance of “Black Hole Sun” at the Detroit concert Wednesday night:
He possessed a voice unlike anybody else in the rock realm, and it helped establish him as one of the most versatile singers of the era. After Soundgarden’s break in the late ’90s, he formed Audioslave with members of Rage Against the Machine, a pairing that led to more success with songs like “Cochise” and “Like a Stone”:
As as solo artist, Cornell released a few albums and wound up penning the theme song to the James Bond film Casino Royale with “You Know My Name”:
He would also branch out and tackle more adventurous recordings, such as his interpretation of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”:
Cornell’s passing comes during a time in which Soundgarden had a summer tour in the works and were possibly expected to go record new music, so it’s an extreme shock to everybody.
Rest in peace, Mr. Cornell.
Below, watch some other clips from Soundgarden’s Detroit gig on May 17, which serves as Cornell’s final performance.
Rock Cellar put together a Chris Cornell playlist on Spotify — featuring songs from throughout his career and projects, as well as other big songs from peers of his genre of music. Listen to it below as our tribute.