Chris Cornell, the iconic singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave, died suddenly on Wednesday night in Detroit. The band had been on tour, and had played a full set at the Fox Theater earlier that night. He was 52. Band representative Brian Bumbery called Cornell’s death “sudden and unexpected” and said that his wife and family were shocked by his passing. His family asked for privacy and said they’d be working with the medical examiner to determine his cause of death.
Soundgarden had been on tour with The Pretty Reckless and The Dillinger Escape Plan and had a week’s worth of shows remaining, including performances this weekend at Rock on the Range and Rocklahoma. They’d also been apparently working on a new album as well.
Forming in Seattle in 1984, Soundgarden were the first grunge band to sign to a major label, A&M, in 1988. Cornell’s powerful and emotive voice, with a four octave range, became the band’s calling card. 1989’s Louder than Love was an instant success, but the band’s subsequent albums, Badmotorfinger and Superunknown coincided with grunge’s explosion into the mainstream, and were mutiplatinum. The band broke up after 1996’s Down on the Upside, reforming in 2010 and releasing King Animal in 2012. In between then, Cornell released a solo album, 1999’s Euphoria Morning, and then formed Audioslave with members of Rage Against the Machine for three successful albums released between 2001 and 2007.
Cornell is survived by his wife and two children, who are 11 and 12. We’ll continue to update this sad and tragic story as we hear more.
Update: It’s been revealed that Chris Cornell died as a result of suicide by hanging.
Soundgarden | 5.17.17 pic.twitter.com/uBC6rSXWg6
— Fox Theatre Detroit (@FoxTheatreDet) May 18, 2017