RIP Chris Cornell. The iconic Soundgarden frontman died of an apparent suicide late Wednesday (May 17) night. From Rollingstone:
Chris Cornell, a dynamic vocalist and guitarist whose versatile showmanship as Soundgarden and Temple of the Dog’s frontman was a signpost of the grunge era, died of an apparent suicide Wednesday night. He was 52.
Police received a 911 call at approximately 12 a.m. from a family friend, according to Michael Woody, Director of Media Relations for the Detroit Police Department. When the friend went to Cornell’s hotel room at the MGM Grand casino to check on him, he “made it inside the hotel room, where he found Mr. Cornell unresponsive laying on the bathroom floor,” according to Woody. EMS pronounced Cornell dead at the scene.
Detroit police are investigating the death as an apparent suicide, though Woody tells Rolling Stone that an official cause of death by the medical examiner’s office is still forthcoming. The medical examiner’s report is expected to be released Thursday afternoon.
Earlier on Wednesday, the singer had played a show with Soundgarden, who were midway through their tour. “His wife, Vicky, and family were shocked to learn of his sudden and unexpected passing, and they will be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause,” his publicist said in a statement.
Cornell’s artistry was marked by his impressive multi-octave vocal range and a rare sensitivity for heavy music. With Soundgarden, he could shift between raging metal declarations (“Jesus Christ Pose”), somber mood pieces (“Fell on Black Days”) and psychedelia (“Black Hole Sun”) with ease.
UPDATE: Cornell’s death has been officially ruled a suicide. From the AP:
A medical examiner has determined that Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell killed himself by hanging in a Detroit hotel room following a concert.
A full autopsy report was not yet completed Thursday afternoon.
Two Detroit newspapers had earlier cited a police spokesman Cornell was found with “a band around his neck.”
Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun
American Idol season 7 winner David Cook had a major turning point in the quest for the crown when he performed the Chris Cornell arrangement of Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean” in 2008. After the singer won the title, he recorded Cornell’s unreleased song “Light On” as his first single.
Billy Jean – American Idol