SHOCK ROCK DEATH
Soundgarden’s Cornell hangs self
Rocker Chris Cornell, a founding father of grunge who gained fame as the lead singer of the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, hanged himself Wednesday night in a Detroit hotel room hours after playing a show, officials said. He was 52. Cornell, had just finished a Soundgarden show at the historic Fox Theatre in the Motor City when he was found dead — reportedly with a “band” around his neck — at the MGM Grand Detroit.
The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office said Thursday that it had completed a preliminary autopsy but that a full report has not been completed.
Cornell’s wife of 13 years, Vicky Karayiannis, and their two preteen kids are in “shock,” the musician’s rep Brian Bumbery told The Associated Press.
Cornell tweeted Wednesday at 8 p.m. before the show, “#Detroit finally back to Rock City!!!! @soundgarden #nomorebulls---,” along with a photo of the Fox Theatre.
Fan videos showed the rock star in high spirits during his last performance, which the reunited Soundgarden closed out with their hit “Slaves and Bulldozers” — merged with Led Zeppelin’s poignant “In My Time of Dying.”
“It’s great to be back here!” Cornell told the sold-out crowd earlier in the show, one video shows.
Detroit Police Department spokesman Michael Woody told the AP that Cornell’s wife called a family friend asking him to check on Cornell after the show and the friend forced the hotel room door open and found Cornell on the bathroom floor at about midnight.
Another police spokesman, Dontae Freeman, told the Detroit Free Press that Cornell was found with a “band” around his neck.
Cornell, a leading voice of the 1990s grunge scene, rose to fame with the Seattle-based rock band, which formed in 1984. As singer and frontman, his wailing voice powered songs such as “Fell on Black Days,” “Black Hole Sun” and one now eerily called “Pretty Noose.” After the band split in 1997, Cornell, with his powerful four-octave vocal range, went solo. In 2001, he formed Audioslave with Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk.
Soundgarden’s breakthrough album, “Superunknown,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and was nominated in 1995 for a Grammy.
Cornell had battled drug addiction in the past, having checked into a rehab for several months in 2003.
He leaves behind his three children, Toni and Christopher, whom he had with Karayiannis, and Lillian Jean, whom he had with his first wife, Alice in Chains manager Susan Silver, in 2000.
TRAGIC: Power-throated rocker Chris Cornell killed himself after a concert.