Chris Cornell, a musician who rose to fame as the lead singer of Soundgarden before taking on the same role for Audioslave, died Wednesday night in Detroit.
He was 52 years old.
Brian Bumbery, a rep for the artist, has confirmed this sad piece of news to the Associated Press and other outlets.
Via a statement to CNN, Bumbery says that Cornell was performing in The Motor City with Soundgarden, which had embarked on a domestic tour in April, when he passed away.
He referred to the death as “sudden and unexpected,” saying in full:
“His wife Vicky and family were shocked to learn of his sudden and unexpected passing, and they will be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause.
“They would like to thank his fans for their continuous love and loyalty and ask that their privacy be respected at this time.”
Cornell had just taken the stage on Wednesday evening at the Fox Theater in Detroit.
Soundgarden was among the most prominent bands in the grunge music scene that dominated the 1990s.
The band’s hits included “Spoonman,” ”Fell on Black Days,” ”Black Hole Sun,” “My Wave” and “The Day I Tried to Live.”
Cornell started his career in Seattle back in 1984 when he helped form the popular group.
We will need to await an autopsy before learning the cause of death, but Cornell was open through the years about his struggle with alcohol abuse and those close to him who died from a similar addiction.
“I’ve lost a lot of young, brilliant friends, people that I thought were very inspired,” he told Rolling Stone in 2015, adding:
“They’re all young and these guys all had limitless potential in their lives in front of them.”
With his passing, Cornell joins a long line of lead grunge rock singers who died at a young age. To wit:
– Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain was found dead in his Seattle home in 1994 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
– Alice in Chains’ original frontman, Layne Staley, died from a drug overdose in 2002.
– Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots passed away of an accidental overdose in 2015.
Soundgarden won two Grammy Awards in 1995.
The track “Black Hole Sun” took home the Grammy for best hard rock performance, while the song “Spoonman” won for best metal performance that year.
After the band broke up in 1997, Cornell performed solo for a few years prior to forming Audioslave.
That super group included former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford, and had a successful run in its own right.
Soundgarden reunited in 2012 and released the band’s sixth studio album, “King Animal.”
Wrote musician Dave Navarro upon learning Cornell had died:
“SO SO stunned to hear about Chris Cornell! Such a terrible and sad loss! Thinking of his family tonight! RIP.”
We, like so many fans, share the same sentiment.
Added Carson Daly just a few minutes ago:
I’m so shocked to wake up and hear about the sudden passing of Chris Cornell. A quintessential voice of a generation. Praying for his family.
Known for his charisma on stage, Cornell was very generous off of it.
He once told CNN:
“If I write a song and put it out there, it’s not mine anymore.”
“It takes on a life of its own, and when you listen to it, it becomes your song. And over the course of generations, those meanings will change.”
May he rest in peace.