My blood ran a little cold this morning when I read that Chris Cornell had died overnight. He had just performed with Soundgarden yesterday in front of a sold-out crowd in Detroit. Undoubtedly, none of those concertgoers could have known how important this show was going to become.
The frontman’s rep has released the following statement: “Chris Cornell passed away late Wednesday night in Detroit, Michigan. 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. They would like to thank his fans for their continuous love and loyalty and ask that their privacy be respected at this time.”
No cause of death has been officially released but multiple outlets suggest that this is being investigated as a possible suicide. Detroit police spokesman Michael Woody told the Associated Press that, while he could not provide any specifics, “basic things observed at the scene” could indicate that the singer took his own life.
Dispatchers received a 911 call around midnight. “When the units arrived they were met by a gentleman who indicated that Chris Cornell had been found in his room,” Woody told Billboard. “When officers went to the room they found Chris Cornell laying in his bathroom, unresponsive and he had passed away. We are investigating it as a possible suicide, but we need to wait on the medical examiner to determine the cause and manner of death.”
Honestly, this all has just punched me in the gut. Anyone who was alive at the time knows that Soundgarden played a major role in furthering that early 90s grunge sound. In my yearbook, I listed “Black Hole Sun” as my favorite song.
Over the years, I have loosely followed Cornell’s trajectory from lead singer of Soundgarden to his years with Audioslave and everything in between (I really loved his Bond theme song,”You Know My Name,” from Casino Royale).
While reading about his life, it was hard for me to accept that so much time has passed. Cornell was a 52-year-old man with a family (he leaves behind his wife, Vicky, and their two children (daughter, Toni, and son, Christopher). He also has an older daughter, Lillian, from his first marriage to Susan Silver.
Wherever he is now, let’s hope he’s rocking out. Rest in peace, Chris Cornell.