Chris Cornell, the celebrated frontman of internationally acclaimed bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, committed suicide on Wednesday following a performance at Fox Theatre in Detroit. For many hours after his reported death, a cause was not confirmed. The Associated Press has only recently released details about the conditions of the musical artist’s passing. According to police sources, Cornell died from hanging.
There is little information as yet of Cornell’s mental state in the hours before his suicide. A police social media manager was quoted early on claiming that first responders discovered the rock star’s body with a band encircling his neck. Cornell had a history with drugs and mental illness that could have resurfaced, leading him to this dark point even when he seemed functional to audiences watching the Detroit performance. He was on a reunion tour with Soundgarden at the time of his death. The band initially broke up in 1997 and didn’t reunite until 2010.
Cornell has spoken in the past about his addiction and depression. These same struggles eventually steered him and his band members to the purposeful absence of alcohol in Soundgarden’s revitalized work environment. Long before this though, he dealt with the all-consuming personal battles of anxiety and addiction. Cornell’s music became more and more popular during the emergence of grunge rock in the 90s. He was surrounded by the drug-fueled Seattle scene that bred famously doomed bands Alice in Chains and Nirvana.
The musician told a Rolling Stone interviewer that he started using drugs at 13 years old. Cornell spoke about the skills he eventually learned in rehab that helped him overcome his addiction to prescription opiates. He also revealed how the recovery helped with his depression.
Cornell was only 52 years old when a family friend found him in his hotel room. This occurred after his wife requested someone check on him. He is survived by three children. Fellow rock icons such as Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry have publicly voiced their grief over the loss of their talented friend.
Cornell leaves behind a legacy of genre-defining albums and fronting of multiple popular bands. His singular voice and edgy hits like ‘Black Hole Sun’ and ‘Like a Stone’ vaulted him to worldwide fame. The wide vocal range that leant power to his music as a group and solo artist drove this popularity. Cornell was both a talented guitarist and songwriter.
Last modified: May 31, 2017