NEWS: Rocker Chris Cornell Has Died at Age 52
Rocker Chris Cornell, who gained fame as the lead singer of the bands Soundgarden and later Audioslave, has died at age 52, according to his representative. [Editor’s note: Soundgarden was set to appear at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver with special guest The Dillinger Escape Plan this coming Monday, May 22nd.]
Cornell, who had been on tour, died Wednesday night in Detroit, Brian Bumbery said in a statement to The Associated Press. Cornell had performed a Detroit concert with Soundgarden that night.
Bumbery called the death “sudden and unexpected” and said his wife and family were shocked by it. The statement said the family would be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause and asked for privacy.
News of Cornell’s death prompted scores of tweets expressing sadness. Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry tweeted: “Very sad news about Chris Cornell today. A sad loss of a great talent to the world, his friends and family. Rest In Peace.”
With his powerful, nearly four-octave vocal range, Cornell was one of the leading voices of the 1990s grunge movement with Soundgarden, which emerged as one of the biggest bands out of Seattle’s emerging music scene, joining the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains.
Formed in 1984 by Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist Hiro Yamamoto, Soundgarden’s third studio album, “Badmotorfinger,” in 1991 spawned popular singles “Jesus Christ Pose,” ”Rusty Cage” and “Outshined” that received regular play on alternative rock radio stations.
Cornell also collaborated with members of what would become Pearl Jam to form Temple of the Dog, which produced a self-titled album in 1991 in tribute to friend Andrew Wood, former frontman for Mother Love Bone.
Three years later, Soundgarden broke through on mainstream radio with the album “Superunknown,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Record in 1995. It included hit singles “Spoonman,” ”Fell on Black Days,” ”Black Hole Sun,” ”My Wave” and “The Day I Tried to Live.”
Soundgarden disbanded in 1997 due to tensions in the band, and Cornell pursued a solo career. In 2001, he joined Audioslave, a supergroup that included former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford. The band released three albums in six years and also performed at a concert billed as Cuba’s first outdoor rock concert by an American band, though some Cuban artists have disputed that claim.
Audioslave disbanded in 2007, but Cornell and Soundgarden reunited in 2012 and released the band’s sixth studio album, “King Animal” in 2012.
Cornell also released four solo studio albums and a solo live album. He also released the single “The Promise” in March on iTunes, with all proceeds going to the International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian aid, relief, and development non-governmental organization.
In addition to his music, Cornell also became involved in philanthropy and started the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation to support children facing challenges, including homelessness, poverty, abuse and neglect.
By Nekesa Mumbi Moody | Associated Press
Associated Press writer Dennis Waszak in New York contributed to this report.
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Detroit Police Investigating Chris Cornell Death as ‘Possible Suicide’
Police in Detroit tell Billboard that they are investigating Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell’s death as a possible suicide, though it is too early in the investigation to determine the grunge icon’s cause of death. The 52-year-old singer’s body was found unresponsive in his Detroit hotel room at midnight on Thursday (May 18). Director Michael Woody of the Detroit Police Department’s media relations said on Thursday morning that officers received a 911 call at midnight from an unnamed person at the MGM Grand Casino in downtown Detroit requesting assistance.
“When the units arrived they were met by a gentleman who indicated that Chris Cornell had been found in his room,” Woody said. “When officers went to the room they found Chris Cornell laying in his bathroom, unresponsive and he had passed away. We are investigating it as a possible suicide but we need to wait on the medical examiner to determine the cause and manner of death.”
Detroit’s WXYZ reported that police said Cornell’s wife called a family friend and asked him to check on the singer’s well-being and when the friend forced opened the hotel room door he found Cornell on the bathroom floor.
Cornell performed a concert with Soundgarden at the Fox Theatre on Wednesday night (May 17). Woody said that police are unable to discuss what was found in Cornell’s hotel room at the time of his death. “We are at the beginning stages of the investigation and we can’t say anything about the scene,” he said.
Spokesperson Brian Bumbery called the death “sudden and unexpected” and said Cornell’s wife and family were shocked by it. In a statement, he said the family would be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause and asked for privacy.
May 18, 2017