Rocker Chris Cor­nell dead at 52

Po­lice, coro­ner in­ves­ti­gat­ing pos­si­ble sui­cide


Rocker Chris Cor­nell, the lead singer of the bands Soundgar­den and Au­dioslave, has died at age 52, and po­lice said Thurs­day his death is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated as a pos­si­ble sui­cide.

Cor­nell, who had been on tour, died Wed­nes­day night in Detroit, said Cor­nell’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive Brian Bum­bery. Cor­nell had per­formed a con­cert with Soundgar­den in Detroit that night.

Bum­bery called the death “sud­den and un­ex­pected” and said his wife and fam­ily are in shock. He said the fam­ily would be work­ing closely with the med­i­cal ex­am­iner to de­ter­mine the cause and have asked for pri­vacy.

Detroit po­lice spokesman Michael Woody said Thurs­day morn­ing he couldn’t re­lease de­tails about why po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the death as a pos­si­ble sui­cide, but noted that there were “ba­sic things ob­served at the scene.”

The Detroit Free Press re­ported that Detroit po­lice so­cial me­dia man­ager Don­tae Free­man said Cor­nell was found dead in a ho­tel room at the MGM Grand Detroit ho­tel with “a band around his neck.” The Detroit News cited Free­man in a sim­i­lar re­port.

But Woody said he could not con­firm that Cor­nell died with a band around his neck and that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his death con­tin­ues.

Woody said Cor­nell’s wife had called a fam­ily friend and asked him to check on Cor­nell. The friend forced open a ho­tel room door and found Cor­nell on the bath­room floor.

The Wayne County Med­i­cal Ex­am­iner’s Of­fice will make an of­fi­cial de­ter­mi­na­tion about the cause of death. An au­topsy is be­ing con­ducted Thurs­day and some in­for­ma­tion from it was ex­pected to be re­leased later in the day, Wayne County spokes­woman Lisa Croff said.

News of Cor­nell’s death prompted scores of tweets ex­press­ing sad­ness. 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.”

Cor­nell was born July 20, 1964 and raised in Seattle, Wash. 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 emerg­ing 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 pop­u­lar singles

Je­sus Christ Pose, Rusty Cage and Out­shined that re­ceived reg­u­lar play on al­ter­na­tive rock ra­dio sta­tions.

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 of 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 uecord in 1995. It in­cludes 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 a U.S. band, though some Cuban artists have dis­puted that claim.

Au­dioslave dis­banded in 2007, but Cor­nell and Soundgar­den re­united in 2010 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 also be­came in­volved in phi­lan­thropy and started the Chris and Vicky Cor­nell Foun­da­tion to sup­port chil­dren fac­ing chal­lenges, in­clud­ing home­less­ness, poverty, abuse and ne­glect.


Chris Cor­nell plays gui­tar dur­ing a por­trait ses­sion at The Para­mount Ranch in Agoura Hills, Calif. Cor­nell, 52, who gained fame as the lead singer of the bands Soundgar­den and Au­dioslave, died at a ho­tel in Detroit and po­lice said Thurs­day that his death is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated as a pos­si­ble sui­cide.

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