Chris Cornell was an American musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter and rhythm guitarist for Seattle rock band Soundgarden and as lead vocalist and songwriter for the group Audioslave.
He died on Wednesday night in Detroit hours after the band had performed there. He was 52.
The death was a suicide by hanging, the Wayne County medical examiner’s office said in a statement released on Thursday afternoon. It said a full autopsy had not yet been completed.
Mr. Cornell’s representative, Brian Bumbery, said in a statement that the death was “sudden and unexpected.”
Soundgarden played at the Fox Theater in Detroit on Wednesday night, and had been scheduled to perform in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday at the Rock on the Range festival.
Dontae Freeman, a spokesman for the Detroit Police Department, said in an interview that officers went to the MGM Grand hotel and casino around midnight in response to a call about an apparent suicide of a white man, whom he did not identify. Mr. Freeman said the man’s date of birth was July 20, 1964, which is Mr. Cornell’s.
Chris eventually became a Grammy winner with Soundgarden, formed in 1984 and coming out of the rapidly growing Seattle music scene, which included Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains.
“There’s something about Seattle, it’s always been a hard rock town, too. I didn’t realize growing up as kid that Seattle had much more of a hard rock focus and a guitar rock focus than other cities did,” Cornell told the AP in 2011. “It was like a Detroit, only northwest kind of. There’s no reason that I would think I know how to define it, but it’s always been there.”
Even at the height of fame, Cornell kept an even head about his success. “I can’t say that we’re motivated by anything but achievement,” he told Rolling Stone in 1992. “And the achievement isn’t based on things like Grammy nominations or chart positions. It’s based on what we do musically and how we personally feel about it. Nothing could be worse for us, I think, than if we made what we thought was the worst record we’d made, and it ended up selling a lot. I think we’re all so self-conscious and prone to disillusionment that that would really make our lives hard as far as wanting to make another record after that.