Chris Cornell Passes Away at 52

2017-05-18

Story by Anne Erickson

Soundgarden and Audioslave vocalist Chris Cornell has passed away

Chris Cornell — who served for decades the voice of Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog — has passed away. He was 52 years old.

Cornell’s publicist has confirmed that he passed away late Wednesday evening (May 17) in Detroit. His band Soundgarden headlined The Fox Theatre in Detroit that evening. Soundgarden ended the set with a cover of the Led Zeppelin song, “In My Time of Dying.” Cornell’s representative stated that the vocalist’s death is “sudden and unexpected,” adding that the cause of death was not immediately known.

It’s not an hyperbole to say Cornell’s voice is one of the most original in all of rock. He stood out in the late ’80s/early ’90s grunge scene in Seattle with his powerful, thick, raw-sounding vocals. He range was unbeatable. Soundgarden, which got together in 1984, was the first Seattle grunge group to score a major label deal in 1988.  Their 1991 major label album “Badmotorfinger” featured the alternative rock staples “Rusty Cage” and “Outshined.”

In 1991, Cornell got together with Pearl Jam members Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Mike McCready and Matt Cameron to create the group Temple of the Dog as a tribute to their late friend Andrew Wood, who fronted the band Mother Love Bone. Cornell’s duet with Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder on the Temple of the Dog song “Hunger Strike” is a cornerstone grunge song.

In 1994, Soundgarden released “Superunknown,” which would end up being one of the band’s most successful albums. The record featured the hits “Black Hole Sun,” “Spoonman,” “Fell On Black Days” and “The Day I Tried to Live.”

Following the release of “Down on the Upside,” Soundgarden temporarily broke up in 1997. Cornell went on to release solo music and form the supergroup Audioslave with Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine. Soundgarden regrouped in 2010 and released a new album, “King Animal,” in 2012. They’ve been touring ever since and had reportedly been working on new music.

Cornell is survived by his wife, Vicky, and their kids Toni and Christopher Nicholas. Cornell also has a daughter, Lillian Jean, from his first marriage to Susan Silver. Our thoughts and prayers are with Cornell’s family during this difficult time.

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