(Flickr/Andreas Eldh)

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

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

Cornell, who had been on tour, died Wednesday night in Detroit, Cornell’s representative 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 are in shock. The statement 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 told AP Thursday morning that he couldn’t release details about why police are investigating the death as a possible suicide, but noted there were “basic things observed at the scene.”

Cornell died at the MGM Grand Detroit hotel, Woody said. He 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 is expected to be released later in the day, Wayne County spokeswoman Lisa Croff said.

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 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 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.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: CP holiday train stops in Nelson

On Tuesday the CP holiday train made its 19th annual stop in Nelson

Special citation for cultural icon

Stephanie Fischer is ‘a true friend’ of Nelson

Where are Nelson’s downtown Christmas lights?

People have been voicing their complaints to the Star about this, so we decided to look into it

Former Nelsonite stops attack on Muslim woman

Jake Taylor intervened in a violent incident on Skytrain

Site C dam decision ‘tough’ for Mungall

Michelle Mungall and the B.C. government gave the green light to the Peace River project.

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

Nelson’s SEEDS to move from Lakeside Park

New gardening location will be at Seventh Street Park

Columnist, dance instructor honoured by city

A Nelson Star columnist and a creative dance leader receive awards

Grease auditions set for the Capitol

Black productions is bringing 50s musical to town.

Breakfast gives kids a big boost

Books, toys and cash donated

Poverty the featured topic at artistic event

Artists to perform at event organized by Nelson at its Best

Local fabric artist Kate Bridger opens exhibit at Nelson Public Library

Bridger will be exhibited at the Nelson Public Library until Dec. 31

More than 20,000 pounds of garbage removed from riverside homeless camps

Two camps taken down last week on the banks of the Fraser and Chilliwack rivers

Suspect in Revelstoke standoff killed himself: RCMP

Mohammadali Darabi, suspect in the Calgary homicide of his roommate, was stopped in Revelstoke

Most Read