Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, 52, dies suddenly while on tour in Detroit
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, who had been on tour, died Wednesday night in Detroit, Brian Bumbery said in a statement to the Associated Press. Cornell had performed a Detroit concert with Soundgarden that night.
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.
News of Cornell’s death prompted scores of tweets. Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry tweeted: “Very sad news about Chris Cornell today. A sad loss of a great talent to the world, his friends and family. Rest In Peace.”
Soundgarden vocalist/guitarist Chris Cornell performs at Lollapalooza in Irvine Meadows on Aug. 4, 1996.(Al Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Chris Cornell, former lead singer of the band Soundgarden, launching his solo career at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Hollywood on Sept. 21, 1999.(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
Audioslave at the Casa del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica on Oct. 22, 2002. From left, Tom Morello, Brad Wilk, Tim Commerford and Chris Cornell.(Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times)
Audioslave’s Chris Cornell sings as guitarist Tom Morello plays at the Lollapalooza concert in Irvine on Aug 16, 2003.(Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times)
Chris Cornell of Audioslave performs at the Hollywood Palladium, March 17, 2003.(Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)
Audioslave’s Chris Cornell performs on the Miles Davis Hall stage during the 39th Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland, on July 5, 2005.(Sandro Campardo / EPA)
Chris Cornell performs on stage at the Hamburg Live Earth concert in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2007.(Andreas Rentz / Getty Images)
Chris Cornell arrives with his daughter Toni and wife, Vicky Karayiannis, for the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 7, 2008.(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)
Chris Cornell speaks to the media as he arrives at the MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring Neil Diamond in Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 2009.(Chris Pizzello / Associated Press)
Chris Cornell of Soundgarden performs during the Lollapalooza music festival at Grant Park in Chicago on Aug. 8, 2010.(Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)
Musician/actor Chris Cornell arrives at the premiere of “Machine Gun Preacher” at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 11, 2011(Jason Merritt / Getty Images)
From left, Kim Thayil, Chris Cornell and Ben Shepherd of Soundgarden perform at an intimate show in celebration of their new album “King Animal” at Irving Plaza on Nov. 13, 2012, in New York City.(Taylor Hill / Getty Images)
Soundgarden members, from left, Ben Shepherd, Chris Cornell, Matt Cameron and Kim Thayil in Seattle on Oct. 29, 2012.(Kevin P. Casey / For The Times)
Chris Cornell of Soundgarden performs at the Lollapalooza Brazil on April 6, 2014, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.(Buda Mendes / Getty Images)
From left, Kim Thayil, Chris Cornell, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd of Soundgarden on June 2, 2014, in New York City.(Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images)
Chris Cornell photographed at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 31, 2015.(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Chris Cornell joined by his wife Vicky Karayiannis and their children Christopher, left, and Toni at New York premiere of “The Promise” on April 18, 2017.(Nicholas Hunt / Getty Images)
With his powerful, nearly four-octave vocal range, Cornell was one of the leading voices of the 1990s grunge movement with Soundgarden, which emerged as one of the biggest bands out of Seattle’s music scene, joining the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains.
Formed in 1984 by Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist Hiro Yamamoto, Soundgarden’s third studio album, “Badmotorfinger,” in 1991 spawned enormously popular singles “Jesus Christ Pose,” “Rusty Cage” and “Outshined” that received regular play on alternative rock radio stations.
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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.
Three years later, Soundgarden broke through on mainstream radio with the album “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.”
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.
Cornell also released four solo studio albums and a solo live album. He 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.
In addition to his music, Cornell became involved in philanthropy and started the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation to support children facing challenges, including homelessness, poverty, abuse and neglect.
3:35 a.m.: Updated with reaction.
This article was first published at 1:05 a.m.
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