Rockers Immediately Respond to the News
May 18, 2017 : Once Cornell’s death was announced, the outpouring of tributes from his peers and heroes on social media was immediate. “Shocked and saddened by the sudden death of @chriscornell,” Elton John tweeted. “A great singer, songwriter and the loveliest man.” Country rocker Jason Isbell tweeted, “Me and teenage me are both heartbroken.” Joe Perry posted a picture of himself and Cornell backstage at some venue, with the message, “Very sad news about Chris Cornell today. A sad loss of a great talent to the world, his friends and family. Rest in Peace.” Chic mastermind Nile Rodgers, a close friend of Cornell’s who had been collaborating with Cornell before his death, likewise tweeted a photo of the two of them, with the message, “A mutual friend called me and tells me my bro passed away. #RIPChrisCornell You are a great artist Love to Vicki [sic] and fam.”
The members of Soundgarden were, not so surprisingly, slow to put their sorrow out to the world in a tweet or Facebook post, choosing to go dark for a period after his death. Eerily, for a month afterward, the final tweet on the band’s Twitter page was one announcing the time the doors opened at what turned out to be their final show,at Detroit’s Fox Theatre.
Death Ruled a Suicide
May 18: In the hours following the announcement, rumors flew about the means by which Cornell had died, until the Associated Press reported the medical examiner at the scene declared Cornell’s death a suicide by hanging. Months later, the Detroit Police Department released photos of Cornell’s hotel room, which TMZ immediately put in a photo gallery. In addition to the harrowing photos of the exercise band Cornell employed in his final act and a streak of blood on the bathroom floor, there were also shots of a guitar on a hotel chair, a rumpled bed and a sleep mask —normal accoutrement of a musician on the road. Also pictured were prescription bottles for Prednisone, typically taken for allergies, and Omeprezole, an anti-reflux medication. Cornell also had a prescription for Ativan, an anti-anxiety drug, on which his wife Vicky believes he overdosed, leading him to take his own life.
Cornell’s Friends Pay Tribute at His Funeral
May 26: Cornell’s ashes were laid to rest at a private ceremony at Los Angeles' Hollywood Forever Cemetery, at which a number of friends and bandmates — including Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, Tom Morello, Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament and actor James Brolin — eulogized the singer. Linkin Park's Chester Bennington (a good friend of Cornell’s) sang Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah” for the mourners. Bennington would take his own life nearly two months later, hanging himself on what would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday.
His Wife Carries on Work for Refugees
September 9: Vicky Cornell issued a tweet from the Eleonas refugee camp just outside of Athens, Greece, where thousands of people fleeing persecution and war in their home countries arrive before dispersing to other nations throughout Europe. The plight of refugees was a cause to which Chris Cornell devoted time and resources; he and Vicky founded a charity that advocated for refugees, and he donated all proceeds for his song “The Promise” to the refugee aid organization International Rescue Committee.
Cornell Receives Posthumous Human Rights Award
November 14: Cornell was honored with the inaugural Promise Award (named after his song “The Promise”) by the Los Angeles Committee of Human Rights Watch, during the Voices for Justice Human Rights Watch Annual Dinner. System of a Down singer Serj Tankian presented the award and honored Cornell as a “compassionate, just and gentle human being.”
2 Months Later on July 20, 2017 - Chester Bennington of Linkin Park and friend of Chris Cornell ...committed suicide as well at 41 years old.