Chris Cornell, Lead singer of the rock group Soundgarden and Audioslave has died at the age of 52.
Cornell died in Detroit, Michigan, while on tour with the recently reunited Soundgarden.
Brian Bumbery, Cornell’s rep, made a statement to The Associated Press and stated that Cornell’s death was “sudden and unexpected” and that his wife and family were shocked at his passing. He also stated that “Cornell was found in his hotel room at the MGM Grand Detroit following a tour date at Detroit’s Fox Theatre.” His family will be working with the medical examiner in order to determine the exact cause of Cornell’s death and have asked for privacy.
The death of Chris Cornell has been officially ruled as a suicide by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office. A statement released states:
“The Medical Examiner has completed the autopsy on 52-year-old Chris Cornell, the Soundgarden musician who died last night in Detroit. The cause of death has been determined as suicide by hanging. A full autopsy report has not yet been completed. There is no additional information at this time.”
Media relations manager for the Detroit Police Department, Dontae Freeman, told Detroit Free Press that, “He was found in his room with a band around his neck.”
Although the singer seemed in a good mood, even tweeting out a post captioned, “Finally back in Rock City,” after last nights concert Cornell’s wife, Vicky Karayiannis, asked to have somone check on the singer. The friend had to force open the hotel room door and found an unresponsive Cornell on the floor in the bathroom.
— Chris Cornell (@chriscornell) May 18, 2017
Cornell’s wife Vicky stated to CNN that she became concerned for her husband after speaking to him and he telling he he took “an extra Ativan or two.”
“When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him. What happened is inexplicable, and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details.”
Cornell does not believe the he “intentionally” took his own life. She said that they had spoken before that night’s show and the two talked about their summer plans.
Family Attorney, Kirk Pasich said in a separate statement that, “The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing, and that drugs and other substances may have affected his actions.”
Soundgarden became one of the biggest bands during the ’90s grunge era, joining the ranks of Nirvana, Alice and Chains and Pearl Jam. Their album Superunknown debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It was also nominated for a Grammy in 1995 in the category of Best Rock Record. Hits included on the album were Black Hole Sun, Spoonman, My Wave and The Day I Tried to Live and Fell on Black Days.
The band broke up in 1997 which led to Cornell’s solo career. He later joined the group Audioslave in 2001. They released 3 albums.
Audioslave broke up in 2007 and he reunited with former bandmates of Soundgarden in 2012. The band released another album, their 6th, entitled King Animal.
Cornell was also a very passionate philanthropist. He formed the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation which assisted children facing difficulties, some of which include poverty, abuse, neglect and homelessness.
Cornell’s wife also thanked supporters:
“The outpouring of love and support from his fans, friends and family means so much more to us than anyone can know. Thank you for that, and for understanding how difficult this is for us,” she said, adding that there is an “emptiness in my heart that will never be filled.”
We send our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy to his wife and family at this difficult time.
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Shannon Toohey is Editor-In-Chief of FanFest.com. She graduated from Hofstra University in 2015 with a B.A. in Journalism from the Lawrence Herbert School of Communications. Shannon has been a proud member of the Fan Fest team since 2013. Tweet her in your prettiest bird voice: @shannontoo