Chris Cornell, the powerful, dynamic singer whose band Soundgarden was one of the architects of grunge music, has died at 52.
Mr. Cornell died Wednesday night in Detroit, said his representative, Brian Bumbery, in a statement that called the death “sudden and unexpected” and that said the singer’s family would be “working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause.”
Dontae Freeman, a spokesman for the Detroit Police Department, said in an interview that at about midnight officers responded at the MGM Grand casino to an apparent suicide of a white man, born July 20, 1964, who was pronounced dead on the scene. He would not confirm the victim’s name; Mr. Cornell’s date of birth is July 20, 1964.
Mr. Freeman said that the victim’s wife had called a family friend to check on the man; the family friend forced his way into the man’s room at the casino and found him unresponsive on the bathroom floor.
SOUNDGARDEN: Formed in Seattle in 1984, Soundgarden were a US hard rock band who became one of the leading lights of the grunge movement that exploded from the north-west of America in the early 1990s. Along with Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Chris Cornell's band pioneered a sound that mixed sludgy and de-tuned guitars – somewhere between punk, metal and shoegaze – with darkly neurotic lyrics. In occupying the middle ground between the heavy metal of Black Sabbath and the psychedelia of the Beatles, they were one of the biggest bands of the era.
How successful were they?
Soundgarden were huge, selling well over 20 million records worldwide. As importantly, though, they took an underground sound into the mainstream. Initially signed to independent Seattle label Sub Pop, later home to Nirvana, Soundgarden were the first grunge band to sign to a major record label. Fans cried "sell out" as they toured with the likes of Guns N Roses, whose LA-influenced hair metal and noodly guitar solos were anathema to grunge. But huge MTV exposure introduced them to millions of new fans.
In my time of dying, I want nobody to mourn
All I want for you to do is take my body home. Those are the opening lines to the last song Chris Cornell ever sang on stage. It was a cover of Led Zeppelin's "In My Time of Dying."
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of Suicide. There is hope with The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention.
Hours before his death, the band took the stage at the Fox Theater in Detroit, for what would be Cornell’s final show. The band closed their last show with a ten-minute rendition of 1991’s “Slaves and Bulldozers,” to which the band added a poignant interpolation of the Led Zeppelin blues dirge “In My Time of Dying,” which they’ve incorporated into the song in the past.