Published May 18, 2017Alt-rock icon Chris Cornell has passed away at the age of 52. According to a statement from his representative Brian Bumbery, the passing was "sudden and unexpected."
According to the Associated Press, the Detroit police department is investigating the death as a possible suicide. Cornell was found dead on the bathroom floor of his hotel room at the MGM Grand Detroit following a concert Soundgarden performed at the Fox Theater last night (May 17).
UPDATE (5/18, 1:50 p.m. EDT): A medical examiner has now ruled Cornell's death a suicide, stating he took his own life by hanging.
Adding to the suicide speculation, police told the New York Times that a man with the same birthday as Cornell was found on a bathroom floor at the MGM Grand with a band around his neck. They did not confirm the victim's identity.
Just hours before the concert, Cornell tweeted the following:
Cornell was born Seattle, WA, on July 20, 1964, with the musician growing up and starting his musical career in the Pacific Northwest city. It's here Cornell helped pioneer the grunge movement with Soundgarden, as well as projects such as Temple of the Dog and eventually Audioslave. Further, he also had a prolific solo career, with the singer releasing a string of albums under his own name.
Cornell first formed Soundgarden with his bandmates in 1984, with the group signing to Sub Pop by 1987 for their debut EP Screaming Life. This was followed in 1988 by the Fopp EP and eventually their debut full-length album, 1988's Ultramega OK.
Soundgarden then followed up their debut with 1989's Louder Than Love and 1991's Badmotorfinger, but it was 1994 effort Superunknown where the band's career truly skyrocketed. Superunknown spawned such now-classic tracks as "Spoonman," "The Day I Tried to Live," "Fell on Black Days" and, of course, "Black Hole Sun." The album went on to secure the band their first Grammys and has since sold more than nine million copies worldwide, making it Soundgarden's most successful album.
This was followed by 1996 effort Down on the Upside — an album that soon saw Soundgarden going on a lengthy hiatus until 2012 comeback effort King Animal. At the time of Cornell's death, the band were said to be busy working on its follow-up.
Outside Soundgarden, Cornell was in the legendary Temple of the Dog — a group formed in tribute to late Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood, who died in 1990 from a heroin overdose. The band released their beloved self-titled debut album in 1991 and last year the group — which also contained Pearl Jam members Jeff Ament, Matt Cameron, Stone Gossard and Mike McCready — celebrated the 25th anniversary of the album, giving it a lavish reissue and heading off on their first tour.
In 2001, Cornell also fronted the supergroup Audioslave, which featured Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk. The band released a series of albums throughout their career and even reunited early this year.
Cornell launched his solo career with 1999's Euphoria Morning and went on to deliver 2007's Carry On, 2009's (controversial) Scream, 2011's Songbook and 2015's Higher Truth. He also contributed solo track to several films throughout his career.
At the time of Cornell's sudden passing, the status of Soundgarden's as-yet-untitled new album is unclear.