First Layne Staley, then Scott Wieland, and now the AP shares the heartbreaking news that 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. Cornell died in Detroit, where he was on tour.
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.
Billboard, however, is reporting the devastating news that his death is being investigated by Detroit Police as a “possible suicide”.
An update this Thursday afternoon revealed the dreaded news that his death is being ruled a suicide by hanging. Two Detroit newspapers had earlier cited a police spokesman Cornell was found with “a band around his neck.”
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.
Soundgarden is one of my heaviest musical influences next to bands like Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains. One of my best friends of 30 years mad me a mix tape that included “Jesus Christ Pose,” ″Rusty Cage” and “Outshined” off of their 1991 Badmotorfinger.
In 1994 the band released 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.” It was a transcendent album that has influenced modern rock in more ways than one.
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, adds the AP.
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, and had been working on a new album as of this writing.
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.
AP adds that, 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.
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