Rocker Chris Cornell Dead at 52
May 18, 2017

Chris Cornell
(photo: Jim Rinaldi)

Singer Chris Cornell, frontman of influential rockers Soundgarden and the supergroups Audioslave and Temple of the Dog, passed away overnight at the age of 52. Soundgarden has been on tour and just played Detroit on Wednesday night. Police received a 911 call around midnight from a family friend and found Cornell "unresponsive laying on the bathroom floor" of his hotel room, according to Rolling Stone. This afternoon, the medical examiner formally announced that Cornell died of a suicide by hanging.

"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," Cornell's publicist said in a statement.

Cornell was known for his impressive vocal prowess and rose to fame as the frontman of Seattle rock band Soundgarden. The heavy rockers formed in the mid-80s and released their debut EP Screaming Life in 1987. In 1990, Cornell's former roommate Andrew Wood of the band Mother Love Bone passed away from a heroin overdose. Cornell teamed up with the future members of Pearl Jam, including then-unknown Eddie Vedder, to form Temple of the Dog and honor Wood's memory. Soundgarden broke through with 1991's Badmotorfinger and hit the big time with 1994's Superunknown, released at the peak of rock's grunge era. Superunknown featured their massive hits "Black Hole Sun," "Spoonman," "Fell on Black Days" and others. After 1996's Down on the Upside, the band broke up and Cornell released the solo record Euphoria Morning in 1999.

A few years later, Cornell teamed with 3/4 of Rage Against the Machine for the supergroup Audioslave. The band released three albums and had a number of hit singles, including "Like a Stone," "Cochise" and "Be Yourself." Cornell released a handful of solo records before Soundgarden reformed in 2010 and released the record King Animal.

Cornell continued to juggle all his various bands, with Soundgarden touring occasionally, Audioslave reuniting for a one-off gig in January and Temple of the Dog mounting their first-ever tour in 2016. He also toured as a solo artist on and off as well.

Soundgarden had been slated as one of the headliners for this weekend's Rock on the Range festival in Ohio. The organizers have released a statement saying, "As we mourn Chris Cornell’s sudden passing, additional details surrounding Rock on the Range performances will be shared when they become available. We appreciate the patience and understanding of the music community during this difficult time and we will have more to share in the near future."

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Nicki Farag,
SVP of Promotion,
Def Jam Recordings

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