Chris Cornell dead: Soundgarden and Audioslave lead singer dies, aged 52

The death has been called ‘sudden and unexpected’

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The Independent Culture

Chris Cornell, the lead singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave, has died aged 52.

Update: Cornell died after killing himself medical officials have announced

His representative Brian Bumbery said Cornell died in Detroit on Wednesday night and called the death “sudden and unexpected”.

Detroit Police are investigating the death as a “possible suicide”.

Michael Woody, a spokesman for the Detroit Police Department, said Cornell’s body was found unresponsive in his hotel room.

“When the units arrived they were met by a gentleman who indicated that Chris Cornell had been found in his room,” he 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.”

Officers reportedly received an emergency call requesting assistance from an unnamed person at the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit. Cornell was pronounced dead at the scene.

The singer's family have asked for privacy while they work with a medical examiner to determine the cause. Tributes to Cornell have flooded social media, including from Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry who called it “A sad loss of a great talent to the world”.

Cornell was best known for fronting his two bands and singing “You Know My Name”, the theme song for James Bond film Casino Royale. He was scheduled to play the US festival Rock On The Range in Columbus on Friday. 

His final concert was with Soundgarden last night at Detroit’s Fox Theatre, part of the band’s latest North American headline tour.

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Cornell was one of the chief architects of the grunge movement, forming Soundgarden alongside guitarist Kim Thyail and bassist Hiro Yamamoto in 1984.

Soundgarden were the first grunge band to sign to a major label (A&M Records in 1988), paving the way for the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains to break out.

After Soundgarden initially split up, Cornell formed Audioslave with Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk. Cornell left the supergroup in 2007 to concentrate on solo material before regrouping with Soundgarden in 2010.

Last year, Cornell spoke about how playing acoustically has tied together his entire career. “In some strange way, it’s made sense of my 30-odd years of songwriting,” he told The Independent

“All the different bands and solo projects and everything in-between are all so varied and eclectic. I wanted to string all that together somehow in an acoustic show and I think it’s the first time that it can all be in one show and make sense."

Cornell struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for many years, checking into rehab in 2003. Speaking to Spin magazine at the time, he said: “I actually like rehab a lot. It’s like school; it’s interesting. I’m learning that I can be teachable at age 38.

“I would sometimes drink before we played. It wasn’t a big deal. It became a bigger deal when I stopped doing the other things I liked to do.”

In 2012, Cornell – along with his wife Vicky – created The Chris & Vicky Cornell Foundation that works with vulnerable children.

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