Update: A Michigan medical examiner just confirmed that Chris Cornell did commit suicide by hanging himself. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.
Beloved lead singer Chris Cornell, best known for his time with the bands Soundgraden and Audioslave, passed away last night at the age of 52. He was in Detroit to play a Soundgarden show at the Fox Theater. By all accounts, it went very well, but several hours later, he was discovered unresponsive in his bathroom after a call from his wife to a family friend triggered a wellness check. The death is being investigated as a suicide.
According to The New York Times, the singer's publicist released a statement describing the passing as "sudden" and "unexpected". The family will work closely with the medical examiner to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.
Chris Cornell first shot to the general public's attention in the early 1990s. The Seattle music scene was blossoming, and bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana were suddenly being counted among the most popular acts in the world. Soundgarden emerged to stake their own claim, especially after 1994's Superunknown produced the singles "Black Hole Sun" and "Spoonman". It won two Grammys and went on to sell more than 9 million copies. Unfortunately, the group split a few years later amidst escalating tension within the band.
Following a solo career for several years, Cornell joined forces with three members of Rage Against The Machine to launch Audioslave. The project was very well received by fans, but it was quickly derailed by the lead singer's substance abuse problems, primarily with alcohol. A tour was cancelled. The group's future came into question, but Cornell was able to find sobriety and Audioslave thrived for several years.
Chris Cornell's voice was perfect for his time in place. It had range and was very technically precise, but yet, there was an aggression and a depth to it. It was organized chaos, and it struck a chord with so many fans who couldn't get enough. To many, he's one of the greatest lead singers in the history of music and along with Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder, the perfect representation of everything that made early 90s Seattle so great.
Cornell leaves behind three children, a wife, Vicky, dozens of musical collaborators and millions of fans. He also leaves behind a long legacy of struggling, overcoming and struggling again with addiction. Regardless of what the medical examiner ultimately finds, he will be missed by so many, and his legacy and music will continue to inspire fans as they navigate the waters of their own personal life.
What a voice.