Tragic end for rock icon

Grunge great Cor­nell found dead in Detroit ho­tel room


CHRIS Cor­nell, the em­blem­atic grunge rock singer whose sweep­ing voice masked life­long strug­gles with drugs and de­pres­sion, took his own life Thurs­day mo­ments af­ter fin­ish­ing a con­cert. He was 52. The singer, whose life had ap­peared to take an up­ward turn over the past decade as he went sober, was found dead at the MGM Grand Detroit ho­tel af­ter his fam­ily con­tacted first re­spon­ders, po­lice said. Cor­nell had re­tired to his ho­tel room af­ter per­form­ing with his main band, Soundgar­den, at down­town Detroit’s Fox The­atre.

A state­ment from the singer’s pub­li­cist said his widow, Vicky Karayian­nis Cor­nell, and the rest of the fam­ily “were shocked to learn of his sud­den and un­ex­pected pass­ing” and thanked fans for “their con­tin­u­ous love and loy­alty.”

Cor­nell, with lit­tle for­mal train­ing, pos­sessed one of the mu­sic world’s most wide-rang­ing voices – it could swing nearly four oc­taves, mov­ing from a deep bari­tone to a screech­ingly high tenor with a chill­ing vi­brato. With his flow­ing curly hair and of­ten bare chest, Cor­nell showed off his vo­cal skills on Soundgar­den hits such as Black Hole Sun, set to dis­so­nant mi­nor chord pro­gres­sions on gui­tar.

The death closes an­other chap­ter in grunge, the sub­genre that emerged in Seat­tle in the late 1980s and com­bined the rough edges of punk rock with a gloomy in­tro­spec­tion.

Front­man Kurt Cobain of Nir­vana, who tow­ered over the grunge scene, died in 1994 and Stone Tem­ple Pi­lots singer Scott Wei­land died on a tour bus in 2015 from a drug over­dose.

Pop le­gend El­ton John said he was “shocked and sad­dened” by the death of Cor­nell, call­ing him “a great singer, song­writer and the loveli­est man.”

Led Zep­pelin gui­tarist Jimmy Page tweeted: “RIP Chris Cor­nell. In­cred­i­bly Tal­ented. In­cred­i­bly Young. In­cred­i­bly Missed.”

Soundgar­den had one of the heav­i­est sounds in grunge with trap­pings of heavy me­tal, even though Cor­nell cited The Bea­tles, to whom he lis­tened con­stantly as a child, as his big­gest in­flu­ence.

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