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Chris Cornell (1964 - 2017)

Getty / Total Guitar Magazine / Contributor

Chris Cornell (1964 - 2017)

Chris Cornell, the lead singer for the Seattle grunge group Soundgarden and later Audioslave whose keening vocals helped vault the former band into the stratosphere during the 1980s and 1990s, died early in the morning of Thursday, May 18, 2017, in Detroit. He was 52.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that a medical examiner cited suicide as the cause of death. Cornell was in the Motor City performing with Soundgarden, which had embarked on a U.S. tour in April. Brian Bumbery, Cornell's representative, called Cornell's death "sudden and unexpected" in a statement to the AP and CNN.

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Cornell was Soundgarden's principal songwriter and one of the architects of the 1990s grunge rock movement. 

Soundgarden was formed in 1984 by Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Cornell originally played the drums. Scott Sundquist was enlisted a year later to play drums so that Cornell could focus on vocals; subsequently, Matt Cameron became the permanent drummer.

Soundgarden achieved its biggest success with the 1994 album "Superunknown," which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. The album featured the Grammy Award-winning singles "Black Hole Sun" and "Spoonman."

Many fellow musicians and entertainers paid tribute to Cornell on social media Thursday.






In 2012, Cornell and his wife, Vicky, who survives him, created a foundation bearing their names to help children who face difficult challenges including homeless, poverty, and abuse or neglect.

We invite you to share condolences for Chris Cornell in our Guest Book.

NOTE: If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide, he or she should not be left alone. Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. The Lifeline provides free, confidential support for people in crisis or emotional distress, 24/7 year-round. The Lifeline also offers an online chat for people who prefer to reach out online rather than by phone.


Editor's note: The initial death announcement issued by Chris Cornell's representative, Brian Bumbery, stated that Cornell died "late Wednesday night," which is why Legacy's obituary and numerous other news reports cited Wed., May 17 as the date of death. Subsequently, the police report of Cornell's death listed the time of death more specifically at 1:30 am, which might informally be called "late Wednesday night" but technically changes the official date of death to Thurs., May 18.